Blog #1

Blog #1

For this blog post assignment, I want to post specifically about what I truly enjoyed learning the most or what made a big impact on myself. Obviously, all of the information from the readings and lectures are important and all are intertwined but I found a few things that stuck out the most to me. I think that the genetic influences on behavior are extremely important and I feel like they are often overlooked because of this stigma that we can’t own what was genetically given to us, but I  think it’s very important for us to own it. When our behavior is affected by our genetics it seems like it can be impossible to deal with but I think we as a society should just see if we could find a way to help ourselves and our of friends so that they can live comfortably.  We can’t change our genetics and I feel like if we just embrace what was given to us, the people who love us will still accept us no matter what.

When we discussed depression, anxiety, and mood states I think this is a very important topic because very rarely do people tend to empathize with people in different mood states. I think that it’s also important for people to acknowledge the state our mood is in because it sets the tone for so many things from how productive we will be to how our day will go and how we also interact with other people. When we address how our moods are it gives us the power and option to change how it is and how to move on from those struggles. This definitely makes me think of positive psychology because in a way you’re changing your mindset to better you’re mental wellbeing. I’m a strong believer that you can make the best out of any bad situation. Changing certain habits, and actions can do great wonders.

Cultivating our strengths was the trickiest for myself, especially since my top five strength definitely wasn’t what I had expected to get. I think that now that I have a better understanding of the strengths that I got and how to use them to my advantage it helps me out a lot more but it was not easy to implement something I was not very happy or proud of.

Science of Happiness Blog #1

Science of Happiness Blog #1

                                       

In the first five weeks of class, we learned a lot about mental health and wellness as well as the attributes we are the strongest at and the genetic influences that could potentially showcase different illnesses and behavior. Keyes’ model of complete mental health/flourishing explained the mental illness and mental health is not either or but a continuum. You can be flourishing with a mental illness or languishing which is low mental health and low mental illness. Genetic influences on behavior help the nature vs. nurture argument. You can be predisposed for a certain behavior but the environmental factors are what makes it come out and express the behavior. Genes can also influence mental health and well being. Dr. Sood discussed Depression, anxiety, and mood states. She explained how depression was episodic, mostly spanning 6-24 months in the depression stage. She also explains that anxiety is common. We also talked about positive psychology and self-care and PERMA.

I found the anxiety and depression lectures very interesting. I learn that anxiety and depression are a lot more common than I previously thought. I also learned that mental health and illness can coexist but that doesn’t mean the people doesn’t need to be looked after and supported. The activities in class that I enjoy are the word bubbles because can see how impactful a thought is in relation to other peoples. The more people agree the bigger the word is. I like this because I know I personally don’t like talking in class but this still makes my voice heard in a way.

 

 

 

Image: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/836614068251449041/?lp=true

#1 Reflection Blog SOH

#1 Reflection Blog SOH

This class is such a new take on learning for me. Learning about different topics each class period and then connecting them all together in different aspects of education and day to day life. I found it intriguing how much psychology can make you better and break you down depending on how you step through situations that make you, you. Human behavior can link to positive psychology and it can also lead to mental disorders and underlying illnesses.

I learned new information about forgiveness in the past 5 weeks. That lecture was by far my favorite because it taught me how to evaluate situations outside of my feelings and put myself in other peoples shoes. I also learned so much about the power of forgiveness on the mental state based on the story of the man who lectured.

The activities and items I learned and talked about in class I applied to my day to day life. Positive psychology and all that it stands for. Especially self care, with PERMA. I applied inspiration, gratitude, and love mostly in how I carry myself and it is slowly but surely making a difference in my everyday mental state.

https://unsplash.com/search/photos/daisy

BLOG POST 1

The topics that we have learned so far this semester have been aimed towards making us more aware of our general happiness and giving us tools and resources to help us improve ourselves mentally.  We talked about conditions that are genetically linked and I learned that it is normal to see conditions like depression or alcoholism manifest in multiple members of the same family tree.  I believe that positive psychology was one of the most impressionable topics we covered because it taught me to embrace my strengths, such as humor and leadership and that instead of settling for being average content, I should strive for actual happiness.  One of the most eye opening topics we discussed was automatic thoughts.  I have used the lessons we learned about automatic thoughts to better the communication aspect of my current relationship and I have experienced a much happier relationship as a result.

Blog Post #1

Blog Post #1

The topics we have discussed int the past five weeks are all interrelated. The “genetic influences on behavior” class  related to the class on “depression, anxiety, and mood states” because it showed that moods had a genetic factor and you suffer from certain mental disorders, it is likely that someone else in your family suffers from that same disorder. I think the “introduction to positive psychology” class and the “cultivating our strengths” class relate to each other because you can practice positive psychology by embracing and using your strengths. By focusing on your strengths you create a better self image and that is included in positive psychology. Some new information I learned was that autism was genetic. I thought it was a random intellectual disability, but it is actually more heritable than most mental disorders. The survey that we took that showed our strengths was a fun exercise that we did. It helped me use my strengths in a new way. I invited someone to lunch with me and we have become decent friends now. I swiped this girl into Shafer one day for lunch and we had a good conversation. Now we meet up once a week for lunch every Wednesday.

Image result for lunch date cartoon

 

Blog Post #1

Blog Post #1

These first five weeks of class have been helping me understand the bigger idea of mental health being this complex thing that’s always a work in progress. All different factors go in to our mental health and some of it is out of our control because of our genes. The better we take care of our mental health and all of the little things that play a part, the better chance we have at being happy.

The main points that I got from class are positivity and gratitude go a long way in any situation. Keyes’ findings with his model of mental health showed a correlation between people having success in their lives (positive outcomes) and those people being more positive in their daily lives. The speaker we had in class this past week that spoke about forgiveness really helped my understanding of gratitude and how to look at the bright side of every situation. My dad always tells me to be as grateful as I can for everything that happens to me and it always helps hearing it from another person too for the message to really stick.

The activity that we did in class where we voted on the different percentage intervals for how much we thought certain mental illnesses could be passed down generations really opened my eyes to how much can really be out of our hands in terms of mental health. Because of all the factors going in to one’s overall mental health, I look at the whole situation as one of those multiple venn diagrams. Each part that affects the whole of mental health has its own circle and some factors work with other factors, some don’t. At the end of the day, they all connect in the middle to create one’s mental health. 

Picture source:

http://under.fontanacountryinn.com/triple-venn-diagram-blank/

Fall 2018 SOH Blog #1

Fall 2018 SOH Blog #1

Over the course of this class we had many guest speakers come and go to shine light on certain topics ranging from self exploring our own strengths and weaknesses to a more medical take on mental illnesses affecting those around us. Overall these different takes, personal stories, and statistics revolving around a “healthier” and more positive you. In the beginning of this course it felt like every class was new because the topics were always “different.” However, to take the time and connect back to how everything, regardless of its context, in a way seems to flow together. First, Keyes’ model of mental health  shows that just because someone is classified (or medically diagnosed) with a mental illness doesn’t mean that same person will have low mental health. However, the same goes for someone who doesn’t have a mental illness but, still show signs of low mental health. Now going onto specifics- A person suffering from depression, anxiety, and mood states can still be highly functioning and live just as great lives as any other person. As humans, we can’t but hear specific things from a whole that “resonates” with you because of the fact that you either experienced it or share empathy to it. Basically, you like to hear what you want to hear. When Dr. Sood went in detail of the more medical portion of mental illnesses I felt that the information presented was something specifically that our age group and generation need to hear because they are either affected or know someone who is. This not limiting to a medical diagnosis of mental illnesses but, daily symptoms such as anxiety being a normal (and can be positive) part in many people’s lives. I couldn’t tell if because Dr. Sood came twice- thus making her memorable because she was physically in our classroom more than the other speakers OR that this information “resonated” and/or pertained to me. Mental illness has always been a topic that has carried a heavy burden in my family, including me. Therefore, to be able to personally relate with classmates and through these presentations i’m reminded of how much evidence of potential everyone has regardless of the biological, medical, and emotional state they’re in. I feel that these class discussions are done just to be “done” but, a lot comes out of it and it’s crazy how talking about these topics open the floor to make it so that classmates can easily and openly talk about things (even really personal ones!)

 

 

-Sharon Kwon

 

Source

 

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So far this class has given me a much better understanding of the science behind happiness. I was very intrigued by the nature vs nurture discussion seeing I believe that nurture most likely plays the biggest role in our mental status but nature also plays a quite important role as well! I was also interested in the automatic thoughts portion of class because I believe if we take time to try and walk ourselves through our thought process we can avoid much unneeded stress. Growing up with anger issues I personally have to walk myself through my own brain whenever something upsets me and it does wonders though some emotions are unavoidable sometimes.

Blog post #1

Blog post #1

These past 5 weeks have been so fast and I already learned a lot in this class. Something I really like is the mindfulness exercises we do before class because this really helps me to forget all my worries for a little and empty my mind. I liked the VIA strengths survey because I got to see what my strengths are and to pay more attention to my weaknesses. I think that all the topics we covered for this far are related to each other, for example, I think to forgive someone you have to have control over your own thoughts first. Something surprising I learned was the results of the VIA survey. Something else I learned is that you can be happy and depressed at the same time depending on mental health, it depends how much you can deal with. In class, the professor compared this with filling up jars. In life, we will have to deal with negative events too which good mental health will help us to get through these. I really liked the powerpoint about forgiveness. The speaker’s message really got me thinking and taking revenge on something/someone makes you an even worse person. Holding grudges will never make things better and you will be the person suffering from it.

 

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First Five Weeks

First Five Weeks

The topics we have gone through the first five weeks can easily relate to each other. We went through talking about anxiety and depression for example, how they go together, but also how the differ from each other. Furthermore, we talked about how happiness can de defined and more so understood and felt. On top of that, how mindfulness can help you to accept all thoughts showing up in your mind throughout the day. We were taught several techniques to handle unhappy moments. Basically all the topics covered the last five weeks can be related, since they all are dealing with coping strategies to keep you on a “happy flow feeling”.

It surprised me that foregiveness can be such a huge way of dealing with emotions. After listening to the speaker on Friday February 8th, I genuinely got enlighten about how important and helpful forgiveness is in any aspects of life. It can certainly help not to get stuck on something for too long, and to ease the process of moving on.

The breathing exercises have helped me tremendously. They assist me to complete my tasks during the day, and help me to have a healthy mindset throughout the day. In addition to the breathing, being grateful for what you have each day have helped me as well.

References:

Image taken from Flickr

The Active Journey

The Active Journey

Blog Post #1

 

Throughout the first five weeks of this marvelous course, we have covered numerous topics relevant to the science of happiness and what the science behind it entails. When I first signed up for this class I didn’t know what to expect from the course content. I am already a psychology major but we’ve never gone over the overall well-being / the science of being happy in the psychology classes I have completed. So far, this course has taught me more than just the details behind being happy, it’s also given me mindfulness exercises to use in the classroom or in regular activities to calm myself down.  It has also introduced me to the true definition of the science of happiness and the impacts positive psychology.

To begin, this class has focused on the overall well-being of what it takes to be happy. Keyes Model of Mental Health has shown me that happiness is a non-dualistic process, it is a continuum of the absence of mental health and the presence of flourishing. The presence of flourishing within one’s life is a key component in growth, and growth is one of the first steps in the process of happiness. Flourishing builds experience which then builds knowledge, these three build a healthy overall well-being in life. I find this model of mental health relatable to positive psychology, another topic we discussed, because both of these concepts focus on the future of happiness. By this, I mean that both concepts focus on happiness as a sort of investment for your future, investment is key because it takes time for an investment to really work. We see investments work and fail every day, a true investment takes active participation just like the process of happiness. It takes time to be happy, just like it takes time for medications like SSRIs to work in the body, happiness is a great deal of investing and it can be a breeze depending on how much time you invest in the process. This also relates to cultivating our strengths because it takes an active mindset to cultivate our personal strengths in life. For cultivating our strengths, we can choose to flourish individually and socially in life or choose to languish in life. Languishing in life leads to poor overall well-being because it lacks interest to do anything, this leads to negative health habits and poor social health.

Throughout the course content, I have seen that most of the information relates to some of the psychology classes I have taken, for example: Abnormal Psychology, Physiological Psychology, and Developmental Psychology. During Abnormal Psychology, we never mentioned the science of happiness but we went over treatments for mental illnesses and negative lifestyles. This course on the science of happiness has helped relate treatments for mental health and I find this meaningful for the future because more people need to be aware of the details behind happiness. It’s a complex process but it’s possible, even if you are genetically predisposed, there are positive things you can do to change your life in the future. Cultivating our strengths helps connect us to others, builds our investment of life, and leads us to healthier life satisfaction. One of the activities that I have found most relevant and helpful to my life was where we had to name five things within our point of view, then name four things within our range that we can touch, then name three things you hear around you, and etc. I found this to be very helpful because it was so peaceful and set me in the perfect setting before class started, it really helped me put my mind in one spot and not worry about what was going to happen next. Another piece of information I found helpful was the acronym PERMA, which stands for positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment, this is the steps in building a healthy overall well-being life. It shows the human race that it takes active participation in building our most important investment of life, happiness. People that have fought through negative mental health are some of the strongest people alive. It’s not an easy journey and it builds one of the most important traits a human can possess, resilience. Adults with resilience are some of the most successful people out there, not in terms of money but in terms of life satisfaction.

 

The image I chose reflects the beauty of life that no one appreciates. Appreciation of life shows others the things they are missing. https://praying.tumblr.com/image/174998815100

Blog Post #1

Blog Post #1

I believe that the all of the topics that we have learned about have had some type of correlation related to mental health in general.  It was just different interpretations, and or different ways to be alert to them while also informing people on how to deal with them. To be honest I wasn’t very surprised about the information that I learned I think it was maybe just confirmation for me. I have not only dealt with some of these things but I have also caught notice to people dealing and or experiencing these things, so I think the information just made me aware. The survey activity where we had to rate things 1-5 really helped me understand myself better, also the test we did online. These activities made me look at how I carried myself overall. I also enjoyed mapping out my family tree, I felt as if that was very important to me because a lot of patterns and medical issues, history that I have, I learned that some of my family members had as well. The more I learn in this class the more I become concerned about my mental health, along with my family and friends. In conclusion, I really enjoy coming to this class because I actually get excited about learning this information. Not only am I learning all of this information but I am sharing it with my family and friends. I believe,Classes like this one are very important and should not be taken lightly.

blog post 1

blog post 1

I feel the topics we have covered in this class all go together well. Why I think so is because  the general status of being happy has more to It then just your general feeling in the moment of thinking your happy. Their are many factors that go in to play that can make you “happy”. Putting together the fact of being able to forgive someone, being grateful for major influences, and the ability to help others who may not be happy can really tell you if your satisfied with where you are at and happy. If someone is satisfied with their place they are confident and happy enough to be able to help someone who I down in the dumps if they are not happy then that person ay just fell the same way or are with why that person is down and they both are having a bad outlook on life. Also the ability to forgive people is huge because if you are grumpy and not happy with the way your life is you will already start out mad and not be able to forgive because you will feel that nothing is going your way and you are unhappy with your life. Some info for me was the more you forgive or thank others for being an influence can factually make you happier with your life. The activity that has helped me the most was the survey I took at the very beginning that told me what my strengths are in my personality. It has helped me understand what I do well and how it makes me outlook on life and be happy

Image result for being happy

 

review of what I learned

review of what I learned

I feel the topics we have covered in this class all go together well. Why I think so is because  the general status of being happy has more to It then just your general feeling in the moment of thinking your happy. Their are many factors that go in to play that can make you “happy”. Putting together the fact of being able to forgive someone, being grateful for major influences, and the ability to help others who may not be happy can really tell you if your satisfied with where you are at and happy. If someone is satisfied with their place they are confident and happy enough to be able to help someone who I down in the dumps if they are not happy then that person ay just fell the same way or are with why that person is down and they both are having a bad outlook on life. Also the ability to forgive people is huge because if you are grumpy and not happy with the way your life is you will already start out mad and not be able to forgive because you will feel that nothing is going your way and you are unhappy with your life. Some info for me was the more you forgive or thank others for being an influence can factually make you happier with your life. The activity that has helped me the most was the survey I took at the very beginning that told me what my strengths are in my personality. It has helped me understand what I do well and how it makes me outlook on life and be happy

Image result for being happy

 

Blog Post #1

Blog Post #1

Throughout the first five weeks of class, I have learned a lot about the following topics; Keyes’ model of complete mental health/flourishing, genetic influences on behavior, depression, anxiety, and mood states, introduction to positive psychology, cultivating our strengths. The topic that has stuck with me the most is how important self-care is and how much it can really impact your mental health and wellbeing.

Before this class, I always thought of self-care as things like eating healthy and exercising and when I found out that it was so much more, I was shocked. Self-care includes topics such as, making time to self-reflect or wearing clothes that you like. I think I was shocked because I would’ve never associated these with self-care until I became more educated on the topic. Also, now when I think of self-care, I think of the many different aspects of it, for example, there is physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, workplace/ professional self-care, and balance. When before all I associated with self-care was the physical aspect. I also really liked the self-care assessment that was given to us in class, it helped me reflect and better understand certain aspects that I need to work on that will better myself.

I also enjoyed learning about PERMA. PERMA stands for positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishments. PERMA is associated with positive psychology and once I went down the list and reflected on it, I understood why.

Lastly, I enjoyed learning about forgiveness. The lecture that Everett Worthington gave was outstanding. He had very remarkable stories that kept my attention. I liked learning that there were two types of forgiveness; decisional and emotional. I also enjoyed learning that forgiveness can assist you in many ways such as better health, mental health, relationships, and spiritual well-being. I never would have known the impacts that forgiveness can bring.

From the Smarty Health Corner and Atrium Health: The Importance of Self-Care

Blog Post 1

Blog Post 1

When I first signed up for this class I was like, “okay being a sociology/psychology major, this class will be easy, I already know a lot in regards to mental illness.” Although, this class even thus far has changed how I thought about mental illness and what may come with it. Learning about twins and how there are connected mentally and how certain traits and mental illness may be passed down through parents and different generations was very interesting to me. I never knew so much about the genetic makeup of twins and how exactly they impacted one another.

Another thing that I had never really thought about was Keyes Model. It is very interested too see the difference between a flourishing mind and a mind with mental illness. I love learning about the different impacts having to do with each of these things, how we can help others dealing with suicidal thought and mental illness, and even how to help ourselves in these situations.

I am someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression since I was a child and this class has certainly given me a different outlook on things and different techniques to continue to learn and be active in the community while dealing with these two illnesses. It has helped me see that I am not the only one who is dealing with this and many people are researching and experimenting with how exactly to help others dealing with these obstacles.

When I first started this class I thought it was going to be more psych related and I was dissapointed at the beginning when it was not, but as we have moved through lectures it has been very eye opening and interesting for me to hear what our speakers have learned and what they have to teach us.

SOH Blog Post 1

SOH Blog Post 1

Throughout the first five weeks of this class, I have learned a lot as far as happiness and mental health issues, as well as bettering myself to live by having a more positive lifestyle.  First, the Keyes’ model illustrates how one can have a mental illness and still have high mental health. Then on the other hand, one can have no mental illness, yet have low mental health. This relates to our topic of depression, anxiety and mood disorders because an individual with any of the following may be diagnosed with one of those disorders, yet they could still be flourishing. However, an individual might not be diagnosed with a mental health disorder, but they could be languishing. Dr. Sood brought up important information regarding depression and anxiety stating how one can either have a generalized, diagnosed anxiety disorder, or they may just experience the day to day anxiety that is not particularly diagnosed. The same can be applied for depression. Disorders such as anxiety, depression and mood, can relate to genetics and twin studies as well as disorders and other health factors being passed down from generations. We learned about how if one twin were to experience a health issue, what the likelihood would be of their twin experience the same issue. We learned how there would also be differences depending on if the twins were monozygotic twins or dizygotic twins. We also discussed positive psychology and how PERMA promotes flourishing. This model helped me to realize what can contribute to positivity in one’s life. Since PERMA promotes flourishing, this goes back to relating to Keyes’ model since Keyes’ model also looks at how an individual can flourish in different situations. As far as cultivating one’s strength and the information learned in PERMA these two can relate. They can relate because I could take one of my top strengths, such as fairness and use that in the PERMA model letter R, relationships, to promote flourishing in my relationships through fairness.

Some information in the first five weeks that was new to my knowledge was Keyes’ model of complete mental health and flourishing. I had never heard of that before so I thought that it was interesting to learn about.

Class content that has been meaningful to me would definitely be the mindfulness exercises before classes. It has helped me to reduce my anxiety during different situations and I have been able to successfully utilize mindfulness outside of the classroom.

Science of Happiness #1

Science of Happiness #1

I think that a majority of the topics covered in the first few weeks of the class go hand and hand with one another. From mental illness to mental health and wellbeing, many important concepts have been discussed.

It was very surprising to me how Keyes’ describes mental health and mental illness through taking them out of context of one another. I love this view on the topic. Before hearing this I always believed that they were interdependent of one another. Meaning that if you had a bad mental illness you could not have good mental health. I also like the idea of flourishing that the model mentions when you have high mental health and low mental illness in combination with one another.

Another topic that I enjoyed hearing about was this introduction to positive psychology. I am a psychology major and most of my coursework never mentions positive psychology. I love how positive psychology aims to push us farther and become better versions of ourselves to improve happiness and life satisfaction. Positive psychology also believes in cultivating your strengths in order to live a more flourishing life.

I am a firm believer that mental health can be improved through diet and exercise. I think that I developed this view through a combination of genetic influences and environmental cues. My parents have always been very fit, they met each other at a gym if that tells you anything. I think that the food one eats has the ability to strongly influence your mood and how you perceive yourself. I think that eating a healthy diet makes you feel significantly better about yourself. It is almost like running on premium gas, rather then the regular grade, I also believe that exercise can greatly benefit your mental health and act as a protective factor against mental illness such as depression or anxiety. I love running. Running allows me a time of mindfulness in my day-to-day life. When I am on a run I feel very in the moment with my body and mind. Running has the ability to take me out of this autonomic world we live in.

 

photo: https://coloringpagewiki.com/img/1232422/22-ways-to-run-better-every-day-active-run-in-the-morning.asp

Blog Post 1

Blog Post 1

I believe that the topics covered in the first 5 weeks of the class both relate and differ from each other. It is easy to say that genetics have influence on behavior whether it is abusive or mental illness, but some may also say that they’re not connected. I believe that everybody in their life at some point feels depression, anxiety, and mood states. Some things trigger different people to feel these different feelings(depression, anxiety, and mood states). Also, most people react differently to different situations. Not everybody is the same.

New information that was surprising to me in the first 5 weeks of this class was the last speaker we had in class. It is crazy to think somebody can lose their mother, father, and brother all to different things and still be willing to forgive. Positive psychology can affect people strongly by simply thinking of the greater things in their life instead of what’s going bad in it. Once people get down about something, they tend to get depressed and say that their life sucks, but in reality there is a lot of good going for them in their life at that time.

The activity that I think helped me relate class content to my own life so far was the cultivating our strengths activity. It had the class focusing on what we are good at instead of what we are not good at. Instead of focusing on what aren’t so good at and telling us how we can work to be better in those areas we aren’t, we focused on what we can do to get through tough times.

ISTOCK, VIORIKA

Blog Post 1

Blog Post 1

These past five weeks I have learned a lot about the mind and the science of happiness. I was really excited to take this class because a friend of mind recommended it to me and I was honestly surprised that a class like this even existed. Within in just a few weeks, I was able to learn and understand new concepts that I am able to implement into my life.

For example, the Keyes’ Model identifies the relationship between mental illness and mental health/flourishing on how they are both related. I never really understood the difference until now. I’ve also learned a lot about genetic influences on behavior. The Family Tree assignment helped me go back and track my family history. Learning that certain illnesses can be passed down through genetics was were really surprising and interesting to me.

Coming from a person who has Anxiety, the topic about Anxiety, Depression and Mood States really stood out to me. Dr. Sood thoroughly explained how depression and anxiety go hand in hand and how it’s really important to recognize and treat these illnesses. I learned that depression can actually make your anxiety a lot worse than what it actually is. It’s important to seek help to treat mental illnesses because they  are real and they don’t go away if you just ignore it. During this week I was also able to learn that your thoughts control you only if you allow it to. As human-beings, there are thousands of thoughts that linger in our heads, however we shouldn’t give too much attention to the ones that bring us down. This correlates perfectly with Ms. Bryers lecture on positive psychology and how significant PERMA is to our daily lives. Our thoughts and environments plays a major role in our happiness and its important that we take care of our mind and feed it with positive thoughts and energy.

The last lecture we had about forgiveness and character strength made me realize the significance of letting go and moving forward in life. Accepting things for what they are and letting go of what is out of your control is a step towards finding your inner peace and happiness.

SOH Blog Post 1

SOH Blog Post 1

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As a psychology major, a large portion what we have learned is familiar to me. However, some aspects such as the Keyes’ model of complete health, have never been introduced. I liked the model because it was a good demonstrator for the levels one can achieve mental health (flourishing, moderate, and languishing).

It is important to understand the genetic influences that we are all predisposed to so that we can know the risk of certain mood disorders becoming prevalent. For myself, I know that depression and anxiety are common mood states among some family members. This is useful knowledge because it helps us understand our behaviors and counteract them with therapies and self-care if needed.

I myself am aware that I am someone who becomes easily overwhelmed and irritable. This class has taught me the importance of mindfulness and grounding myself when necessary. Unfortunately, it is easy to fall into habits of self destructing behavior and mood states. These are episodes when the states take place and do not necessarily mean that a disorder can be diagnosed. Although temporary, they can have a seemingly lasting effect and travel into different corners of our life. Mindfulness is significant and more people should be aware and utilize these methods in order to bring themselves out of those mindsets.

The topics of positive psychology and strength cultivation were interesting and I group them together because that’s what made the most sense in learning it. To study happiness and finding ways to become more satisfied and fulfilled people we have to know our strengths and weaknesses. This helps us to know what we have to work on to better ourselves. In doing so, we are more skillful and our self-esteem and confidence is boosted. These facets of happiness can be transferred in all areas of life: professionally, romantically, mentally, etc. I think one can be happy with one area of life and not the other so knowing strengths can definitely be an ally for someone who is looking to go on that journey of self discovery; it may even be the first step.

 

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Blog Post #1

Blog Post #1

Being that I am a junior psychology major, I have already learned a large portion of the content that we have gone over in class so far. However, Science of Happiness opened my eyes during our class on 2/08 with Dr. Worthington’s lecture on positive psychology. Dr. Worthington’s primary focus of the lecture was on the topic of forgiveness. There are four types of forgiveness: forgiveness by God, forgiveness of self, person-to-person forgiveness, and societal forgiveness. The type of forgiveness that many people struggle with is person-to-person forgiveness because it can be difficult to pardon someone who has inflicted harm/hurt to yourself and your loved ones. We tend to seek revenge and justice when someone mistreats us. Dr. Worthington shared the heartfelt example of his mother and brother’s death. I commend and thank him for sharing such a personal tragedy to a room full of strangers. If he can forgive his mother’s murderer, then I should be able to forgive all those individuals who have done me wrong. I can choose either decisional forgiveness or emotional forgiveness. Decisional forgiveness is when you intend to renounce revenge and avoidance of the wrongdoer. Emotional forgiveness is when you replace the negative unforgiving emotions towards the wrongdoer with positive emotions. Depending on either sub-type of forgiveness that I choose, it will still be a challenging task. It can be very hard to let go of hurt and resentment to forgive others’ transgressions. However, this lecture taught me that dwelling in the past is detrimental to my mental and physical health. With forgiveness, we can achieve better physical & mental health, relationships, and spiritual well-being.

Blog Post #1 Mary C.

Blog Post #1 Mary C.

Throughout this week we have learned many different ways in which mental illness affects us and how we can help people to be more positive and how to be more supportive. I found it interesting that positive thinking was not the science of happiness. I have always attributed positive thinking to being happy. Key’s Model of Mental Health I found particular interesting because often people associate mental health with mental illness when in reality they are two separate things. Often times people confuse the two because they are so similar. When people have low mental health they are thought to be mentally ill but they really just need to work on their mental health, perhaps by seeing a therapist and talking about their problems.

The genetics factor that influences people’s happiness is intriguing as well. Genetics can cause people to have mental illnesses (also influenced by the environment). People can pass down traits that make it harder for them to live a happy life. One thing that can be passed down is depression. Depression can be a hard mental illness to deal with. Exercising can help elevate people’s mood which can help people with depression. I found this extremely interesting and have started to incorporate exercise more into my life and have seen great improvements.

In class we related the P in PERMA (Positive Emotion) to the exercise we did at the beginning of the semester where we all took test to look at our strongest traits. It showed us how our most positive traits were related to our positive emotions. In order to improve our least used positive emotions we need to work on our weakest traits. It was interesting to see the correlations between the positive emotions and our character traits.

 

OVERCOMING OUR OWN BIOLOGY

OVERCOMING OUR OWN BIOLOGY

Mental health has significant impacts on an individuals’ cognitive, emotional, and physical abilities. The dimensions of Keye’s Model of complete mental health/flourishing shows that a continuum is the absence of both mental illness and presence of flourishing while not dualistic is one or the other. Although nature vs. nurture was heavily argued to be the reason behind mental health, it has been proven that genetic and environmental factors contribute to these behaviors. Genetics has a 80-100% heritability influence on autism, 40-70% for Schizophrenia and bipolar illness, and 20-40% heritability influence on anxiety and depression.

Mood disorders begin at a young age but it is difficult to diagnose in young children considering the psychological changes they are experiencing. Depression is partially genetically influenced, while sadness isn’t. The difference between the two is sadness is temporary whereas depression leads people to feel hopeless and worthless while it isn’t self-treatable. Depression can cause low-attention span, substance abuse, and low self-esteem. In effect, it can interfere with school, work, appetite, and sleep. Anxiety and depression are often linked to similar biological factors with functioning impairment and decreased quality of life. While normal anxiety is often experienced by everyone daily, pathologic anxiety a chronic condition that impairs functioning and their overall well-being.

 

For anyone experiencing anxiety or depressive thoughts should seek professional help. In Dr. Dick’s lecture, she stated, “Genes are a disposition, not a destiny!” This quote gives hope to people with back genetic family background. People may be disposed to one path in life but changes in environmental factors can help change that. Happiness is only 50% hereditary, allowing for the other 50% to be environmentally influenced. If your family history has a lot of depression, a child can still gain happiness through environmental factors.

Good mental health is the absence of mental illness and presence of positive thoughts, joy, and happiness. If bad mental health is left untreated it can become severe and damaging. Dr. Dick explained “COBE” to be short for College Behavioral and Emotional Health Institute. Their mission is “To promote behavioral and emotional health in college communities through the integration of research with coursework, programming, and policy related to behavior and emotional health” (Powerpoint). The PERMA Wellbeing Theory helps us maximize each component to fulfill a life of happiness. PERMA is an acronym for “Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment”. By following and applying the PERMA wellbeing theory to one’s life, they are more likely to obtain happiness. My favorite activity this semester has been the VIA Strengths survey was my favorite class activity because it showed me my weaknesses that I didn’t know I was slacking in. Since that assignment I have put effort into strengthening my weaknesses in order to develop healthy, positive habits to fulfill life long happiness.

 

 

https://archive.4plebs.org/pol/thread/168718549/

Strengths vs Weakness

One of the things we did in class that I found interesting was take the VIA survey. To me it was pretty obvious what my results would be, because I’ve taken multiple personality test to see the kind of person I am.

My top five results were Forgiveness, Humor, Social Intelligence, Honesty, and Love. When someone heard my results it was apparent to my group in discussion that I am a very social person and the way I even decided to go first sharing my results showed as well.  I admit I’m interested in people and it doesn’t take me long to make friends with just about anyone.

The results that had me a little off beat were my last five though.  Spirituality, Prudence, Perseverance, Judgment, and Love of Learning. This struct a cord with me, because I immediately started trying to think of situations where I did show these traits off. It took a little for me to swallow even though these aren’t my top five strengths they are not my weaknesses. So it helped me in the long run to try and showcase one of these skills more everyday to bring them up.

Blog Post #1

Blog Post #1

I think all aspects of mental health are interconnected in some way or another. I think the first portion of our learning with the Keye’s model of mental health and flourishing focused on people as individuals and provided different approaches of what could possibly constitute mental health within. What we learned next was more about genetics and how those influence what exactly constitutes mental health and how much it can vary based on our genetic makeup. Lastly I felt like we learned about more external influences and how they can be of impact on our mental health. They are 3 different sources, but they are all contributing to our well being in different ways, and I think it was really helpful for me to distinguish the differences between them and feel comforted that not all of this is in my control–it’s in my makeup. For me, one of the most interesting classes we had was on 1/16 when we studied the question: What causes human behavior?. I never knew the actual breakdowns of genetic variances between relationships like siblings and parents, versus twins and what the impact of that can be. I have been really impacted by the emphasis of mindfulness that we have been putting on this class. As someone who struggles with anxiety,  this class has made me more aware of the things that are potential triggers to my anxiety and it has made me better equipped to handle it when it comes. It has also made me feel less alone because I now know the medical component of this illness and how many people it affects.

source: https://www.togethercville.net/

Blog Post #1

Blog Post #1

During my first few weeks in this class, I have taken much of my personal understanding of mental illness, anxiety and depression, and positive psychology and really reevaluated and added to my current knowledge.

 

To begin, learning about Keyes’ model of complete mental health and flourishing has opened my eyes to how the different demographics we fit into contribute to our overall happiness. As someone who is relatively cynical about the world, the idea that of merely having a positive outlook on the world truly making your world a more positive place seems VERY far-fetched in my mind. But after learning about the Keyes’ model, I found myself questioning my own ideas about happiness and positivity. Especially, since typically when you are in a positive state of mind, you are more productive and tend to spread that positivity amongst those you come in contact with.

 

Now, when speaking on genetics, I have always been a very firm believer in the idea that mental illnesses such as manic depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder are hereditary as well as situational. And those, that don’t just haven’t bothered to look into the history. We inherit probability for mental illness just as we do with things like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It does not mean you are destined to have it, or that you ever will. But the likelihood that you will experience it exponentially higher than those without a genetic footprint for it. These are things that should be monitored, just like any other genetic disorder. And not ridiculed and joked about, because manic depression can be just as life-threatening as high-blood pressure. In addition, depression and anxiety levels are also highly heritable. If your parents, don’t deal with high-stress situations well then it is very likely that neither will you. Now, there are always instances that the child breaks the mold or is in a better physical and mental state than their parents were, which could contribute to better mental health and endurance overall. But it is still important to recognize and monitor these things. Just as you would for someone with a history of alcoholism or drug abuse in their families.

 

I think that a good way to help find serenity in times like this, for everyone regardless of their mental state or capacity, is to try and focus on ways to bring a positive outlook to your mental viewfinder. For example, learning more about the psychology behind positive emotions and thinking, in the same way we learn about the negative, may give some real insights into how to achieve those things scientifically. After all, that is the entire point of positive psychology. In addition, learning and capturing your personal strengths will help you view yourself in a positive light by viewing yourself through your strengths instead of your weaknesses. A problem we all have.

 

At the end of the day, it is important to recognize that someone’s mental health is truly dependent on them. No one can go into your brain and fix your thinking, you have to decide to do that. No one can change your state of mind for you, only you are capable of doing that. But, what you can do is seek out situations that help you on your path the mental serenity. Being in situations that make you happy, learning more about positive psychology, seeking therapy, and possibly seeking medicinal help to assist with chemical imbalances as all positive ways of helping to find that serenity. However, these are not a cure. They are merely tools to assist you on your journey. Never being afraid to ask for help and to be happy again is important as well. Giving yourself permission to feel good and be good are the first steps to actually achieving it.

 

 

 

Picture Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/457256168388316131/?lp=true

Blog Post 1 Noah Sharps

Blog Post 1 Noah Sharps

1.
A lot of the topics discussed through the first five weeks relate to each other in a way that helps you understand your emotions and try to help control them. Keyes’ model of complete mental help/nourishing helps you see how to control your mental health, what makes you happy, how to maintain that. Genetic influences on behavior and Depression, anxiety, and mood states relate because they talk about what makes a person feel a certain way, what causes that emotion, and it helps you understand what is causing it, making it easier to control it or limit it. Introduction to positive psychology and cultivating our strengths relate because these help us maintain a positive mindset and continue to be happy, or in a positive attitude.

2.
Some information from the first five weeks that was surprising to me is the amount of people who suffer from some of these things like depression and anxiety. The factors that play into what causes these emotions and simple steps to help reduce them.

3.
What has been really interesting to me are all the ways we have learned so far to help control certain feelings. I have been able to limit the amount of stress I go under recently by doing some small things we do in class. The little things we do in the beginning of class sometimes help me ground myself and get my mind off certain things and helps me relax. The 5 senses activity we have done has worked best for me and I have noticed myself do it a couple times throughout a week.

4.

Link to image: https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/what-is-positive-psychology-definition/

Blog Post Number One

Blog Post Number One

I have learned a good deal so far in this class about what factors play what role in people’s personality and what might be the reasons behind them.  For instance the role genetics plays in our lives. Sometimes different disorders get passed down like Mendelian or Chromosomal disorders. Non genetic illnesses can get passed down too, such as anxiety or autism or alcohol dependency and more. However, everybody has a little bit of anxiety regardless. Dr. Sood says it is a natural response in certain situations.

For me, I had no idea that non-genetic based illnesses could get passed down so easily. It was eye opening that between 20-40% of people inherit anxiety disorders, and between 40-70% people get drug and alcohol dependency issues.

I consider myself lucky because both my parents sides of the family have some history of alcohol related abuse and both my parents have educated me and raised me to know how to handle situations that could lead down that road. This reminds me of the speaker we had in class on the 8th who talked about positive psychology and talked about dealing with things the right way to better themselves.

Link to pic below

Making Good Decisions

 

FIRST BLOG POST :)

FIRST BLOG POST :)

Picture from pinterest Imara. “Self Care”. Pinterest.com

These past few lectures have really stood out to me regarding my mental health as well as the people I am associated with. One of the main things that really caught my eye was learning about how autism has a higher heritability rate than depression does. Even though depression is likely to be passed down from generation to generation, this puts me at a calm ease knowing that it is not a determining factor. Since I am a survivor of MDD, when I have children I will be more vigilant for symptoms of depression and anxiety. I wish I would’ve took this class my freshman year and became more aware of what I was going through. I am now more aware of  the difference between major mood disorders and depression. I believe that uncontrollable mood swings/states could put an individual on the path to depression if they don’t seek help right away. This plays a huge role in cultivating your strengths and positive psychology as well. Knowing who you are and what you want in life can change your whole perspective on how you view things. In my life, I know I find most things stressful and without even trying I can find the negative in about every little thing. But what good does that do for me? This is the year that I will pick myself up, dust myself off and keep it pushing because I know that I am the only one that can truly make me happy. So I need to start taking time for myself, decluttering my mind, giving gratitude to the people that I  love most. Making my life worthwhile! PERMA is now set in stone, this is a helpful guide to keep on track to a positive fulfilling lifestyle. Positive relationships is the first thing on my list. It is definitely going to be one of my major goals to have good mental health flourishing but i know that i am on my way there and it will take some hard work. One of the most meaningful things to me in this class so far was watching the video called “ An Experiment in Gratitude”. It literally made me call my mom after and tell her how much I appreciate everything she does for me. It opened my eyes to see that there are a lot more ways to intake positivity and it doesn’t just have to focus around self care.

Befriend Yourself

Befriend Yourself

This class has had a very powerful impact on my life. As a young girl growing up, I’ve always had interest in how the mind works. When you are a kid you have moments where you are happy, mad or sad and usually you can identify your emotions fairly easy. Then, you get older and more mature and the emotions/feelings are harder to identify. Some of them you’ve never experienced before. This class has broadened my understanding of mental health and psychology and the various aspects of it. Mental health issues are prominent on my father’s side of the family, so I have firsthand experience of how it effects the lives of so many. Knowing your strengths is a great way to grow mentally, when we took the VIA survey the results were not socking to me, gratitude was my top strength that I exercise the most. Which is very like me, I am a very grateful person and I like to share my gratitude with those in my life. Exercises like that help you learn yourself better. I believe knowing yourself is the key to mindfulness.

     Out of all of lectures from the past 5 weeks, the most interesting ones for me were the lectures on depression and anxiety. I was that person who said I will never be depressed, not really knowing what it was until I went through it. Also, I had very bad anxiety around this time as well, it seemed like I would stress and panic over the slightest of things. My behavior was something I was not accustomed to. It was a very traumatic experience for me. I have always been a happy person, it honestly seemed like after that one event happened it like a spiral down hill from there. I learned that it is a mixture of genes, environment, and events that occurs. All of the information I acquired from those lectures was passed on to someone close to me who is experiencing the same symptoms discussed in class. They found it very helpful and I was especial happy I could help relinquish the stigma behind depression and anxiety.

I really enjoy the mindfulness coping and or relaxation mechanism we do at the beginning of class. While eyes are closed, breathing in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 hold for 2 seconds and then exhale 1, 2, 3. We repeated that a few times and then slowly returned to class mentally. Holly introduced another mechanism called the 5 senses during her positive psychology lecture. Which is more of a coping mechanism you do when you are feeling anxious and need to ground yourself. Basically, you choose 5 things you see, 4 things you feel, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you taste. The purpose is to bring you back to present reality. It’s an especially great mechanism because no one knows when you are doing it, it’s not an obvious mechanism like others. Positive psychology is different from the social definition we associate with psychology. It doesn’t just focus on the mental illness diagnosis and curing aspect, it also focuses of the aspects of psychology that modern psychology generally dismisses like, identifying and nurturing high talent and helping people live fulfilling and productive lives. It focuses on getting people that are in the negative not just back to zero but to the positives. I believe a psychologist is not only needed when something is “wrong”. It can be used for many other things and have a positive impact on one’s life.

Blog post #1

Blog post #1

I am pretty sure most people have experienced some type of depression or anxiety in their life because they were put in a uncomfortable situation. What I have learned from Dr. Sood’s presentation are the signs of depression and anxiety and I can relate to them. The risk of suicide would start increase, the level of isolation starts increase, just everything starts to fall apart. I have learned that you cannot just tell a depressed person to “just be happy” like he/she have a choice to be.

Most people to get over anxiety or depression they would want to take drugs to get rid of the pain. That is a common thing because I never took drugs but to me it wasn’t a bad option to think about. I overcome anxiety with mental deep breathing from my stress management class this past fall to help me overcome these mental obstacles.

Image result for rain and sunshine

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1366&bih=608&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=_jBcXLTcOuTR5gLopY-oDA&q=rain+and+sunshine&oq=rain+and+sunshine&gs_l=img.3..0l3j0i24l2.11959.15585..16130…0.0..0.287.1785.10j6j1……1….1..gws-wiz-img…….0i67.SZMQae2HMZg#imgrc=yHXTq8EZmuZBIM:

Anxiety and depression with alexander taylor

Anxiety and depression with alexander taylor

I am pretty sure most people have experienced some type of depression or anxiety in their life because they were put in a uncomfortable situation. What I have learned from Dr. Sood’s presentation are the signs of depression and anxiety and I can relate to them. The risk of suicide would start increase, the level of isolation starts increase, just everything starts to fall apart. I have learned that you cannot just tell a depressed person to “just be happy” like he/she have a choice to be.

Most people to get over anxiety or depression they would want to take drugs to get rid of the pain. That is a common thing because I never took drugs but to me it wasn’t a bad option to think about. I overcome anxiety with mental deep breathing from my stress management class this past fall to help me overcome these mental obstacles.

Image result for rain and sunshine

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1366&bih=608&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=_jBcXLTcOuTR5gLopY-oDA&q=rain+and+sunshine&oq=rain+and+sunshine&gs_l=img.3..0l3j0i24l2.11959.15585..16130…0.0..0.287.1785.10j6j1……1….1..gws-wiz-img…….0i67.SZMQae2HMZg#imgrc=yHXTq8EZmuZBIM:

Depression and Anxiety with Alexander Taylor

Depression and Anxiety with Alexander Taylor

I am pretty sure most people have experienced some type of depression or anxiety in their life because they were put in a uncomfortable situation. What I have learned from Dr. Sood’s presentation are the signs of depression and anxiety and I can relate to them. The risk of suicide would start increase, the level of isolation starts increase, just everything starts to fall apart. I have learned that you cannot just tell a depressed person to “just be happy” like he/she have a choice to be.

Most people to get over anxiety or depression they would want to take drugs to get rid of the pain. That is a common thing because I never took drugs but to me it wasn’t a bad option to think about. I overcome anxiety with mental deep breathing from my stress management class this past fall to help me overcome these mental obstacles.

Image result for rain and sunshine

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1366&bih=608&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=_jBcXLTcOuTR5gLopY-oDA&q=rain+and+sunshine&oq=rain+and+sunshine&gs_l=img.3..0l3j0i24l2.11959.15585..16130…0.0..0.287.1785.10j6j1……1….1..gws-wiz-img…….0i67.SZMQae2HMZg#imgrc=yHXTq8EZmuZBIM:

Blog post 1

Blog post 1

I think that so many times we hear people with anxiety and we do not think of it as a disease, we think of it as something that the person can easily control and as we found from the weeks reading and Dr. Sood, we should never think in this manner.

As I began to read the reading, I realized that the writer; Michael Gross was pointing out to us the idea that Anxiety is a huge health problem. This meant to me that we are overlooking something that is becoming an ever growing problem simply because we are over looking it. It was new and interesting for me to find out that Anxiety is no different than diabetes in its disease scale, and as Dr. Sood put it, the only difference is that you can not die from anxiety except from a rare heart attack. It is important to let people know that there is no difference and that we have to treat it as if there is no difference.

When I thought about anxiety before the past week, I thought hyperventilating, awkward and anti-social, but now I recognize that I have my anxious moments too which I found out in class is normal. I realize that there are times that I am thinking of one hundred plus things at once and being that I am graduating soon finding a job is one of them. But because we have learned so many tools to help us with those anxious moments, I have ways to combat those anxious feelings.

One of the mindfulness tools that we have done that really helps to center and ground me is to just stop and be silent for a moment, focus on your breathing slow down and exhale longer than your inhale. When I feel myself getting to that anxious moment, I just stop and do this for one minute, which feels like a long time. This method is something I have taken from this class that I will use for the rest of my anxious life.

https://www.transformationstreatment.center/co-occurring/anxiety-disorder/

Blog Post 1

Blog Post 1

I think that so many times we hear people with anxiety and we do not think of it as a disease, we think of it as something that the person can easily control and as we found from the weeks reading and Dr. Sood, we should never think in this manner.

As I began to read the reading, I realized that the writer; Michael Gross was pointing out to us the idea that Anxiety is a huge health problem. This meant to me that we are overlooking something that is becoming an ever growing problem simply because we are over looking it. It was new and interesting for me to find out that Anxiety is no different than diabetes in its disease scale, and as Dr. Sood put it, the only difference is that you can not die from anxiety except from a rare heart attack. It is important to let people know that there is no difference and that we have to treat it as if there is no difference.

When I thought about anxiety before the past week, I thought hyperventilating, awkward and anti-social, but now I recognize that I have my anxious moments too which I found out in class is normal. I realize that there are times that I am thinking of one hundred plus things at once and being that I am graduating soon finding a job is one of them. But because we have learned so many tools to help us with those anxious moments, I have ways to combat those anxious feelings.

One of the mindfulness tools that we have done that really helps to center and ground me is to just stop and be silent for a moment, focus on your breathing slow down and exhale longer than your inhale. When I feel myself getting to that anxious moment, I just stop and do this for one minute, which feels like a long time. This method is something I have taken from this class that I will use for the rest of my anxious life.

Blog Post #1

Blog Post #1

Based off the lectures that I have heard in class it can always be compared that mental illness and ones happiness go hand in hand. Keyes model of mental health was very fascinating when reading. It described the relationships between age, education, and gender and how those things influence the happiness of a person. Keyes finding show that people who were more positive typically functioned more positively in life. I also believe this is true because when I feel positive I am able to function at a higher rate.

As far as genetic influences are concerned I feel that they have a major affect on ones behavior. When we think of genetic influences one can use bipolarism as an example to display how the genetic influence can play heavily on the behavior. Genetic influences also aid in depressive behavior which can heighten ones anxiety and have an adverse affect on ones moods. Genetic influences can be detrimental to ones mental health if not treated which can in turn effect ones ability to have positive peer or romantic relationships, and to be truly happy.

Although mental health is completely dependent on the person there are also outside factors that can affect a persons level of depression, level of anxiety, and finally their level of mood states. Which in turn carries over to a persons ability to be positive or not. Through Keyes model people that are intrinsically happy are typically more mentally stable and therefore more apt to cultivate their strengths and fine tune their interests. Keyes found that mental health issues were more prominent with people that had languishing and moderately languishing mental health issues. In conclusion, I think that Keyes mental health model is valid and is one that I can use in my day to day life.

 

Source:

http://midus.wisc.edu/findings/pdfs/56.pdf

 

Picture:

http://worldartsme.com/anxiety-clipart.html#gal_post_459_anxiety-clipart-1.jpg

 

Blog Post #1

Blog Post #1

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

During the first few weeks of class we learned a lot about happiness and the varying factors on which happiness, or the lack of, can be influenced. One would be the Nature vs Nurture aspect where we are influenced by both our genetic disposition and the environment we live in. Whether the genetic aspect can help us be resilient to things like substance abuse or whether environmentally some may have been raised in an area of heavy air pollution putting them at risk of chronic diseases. There are infinitive factors and infinitive ways they can interact with each individual throughout their lifetime. With the human nature of wanting to have a concrete understanding about the world around us and ourselves. We find each other in varying degrees becoming fascinated about how we define happiness, how we attain it, how can we cling onto it and the significance of it in our own lives.

One of the ways we try to approach happiness would be in the medical field where we could observe conditions and illnesses that could make us less likely or more difficult to be happy. With the social norms and cultural changes over the decades, mental health has become more reputable and treated with importance with more physiological diseases like cancer. Where genetic diseases and viruses have more tangible forms as the cell’s behaviors change or become infected, with advancements in technology and science, we are able to show how there can also be physiological effects from changes in mental health. For example depression, where surprisingly Mrs. Sood has also informed us that 1 in 5 of teenagers are depressed, can have negative to life threatening effects to the individual. And it really shows how with the cultural and socioeconomic aspects of our lives can impact how and why we live. From the consistent media consumption of the appealing luxury of materialism to how much harsher and calculative the educational has become. There is no end to how much the difficulties and challenges we face can bring us to become emotionally detached or feel like we have no choice but to pursue career before happiness.

Yet with the adaptiveness and resilience of humanity, we have also found ways to approach life more positively. For example the VIA survey where we have a chance to find out more about ourselves and how we can use our unique strengths effectively to live life the way we do best. Whether it is being a humorous leader that can uplift moral while being understanding to each other. Or it is finding out we may not be as suited to approaching life zestfully and instead being happy with expressing gratitude to our loved ones. With enough effort and dedication, we could come to enjoy the challenges of the heavy workload depending on the perspective we take or we could overcome the stress by spending time to care for ourselves. This reminds me of the Self-Actualization pyramid where before becoming fulfilled and satisfied, we must meet our physical and social needs. For example before running a marathon we must have a good night’s rest, a hearty breakfast, no worries about someone breaking into your home while you’re gone, support from others, and confidence that you can endure the run.

With the research and findings about the more positive aspect of happiness, there are also spotlights to methods. Exercises, and mentalities people have been using for years/centuries to alleviate stress and to attain happiness. For example the meditation that can give ourselves a break from being so preoccupied on what we have to do or what we don’t look forward to doing because of the expectations placed upon us. Sometimes we become so worried on the consequences of our actions or worrying about something we did and how people have perceived it. And we forget about being mindful on the present. Being aware that our bodies are fatigued, being aware about how beautifully blue the sky is and being aware of how there are people wanting to spend time with you but maybe blinded with the need to cram in a few more hours of studying because the two digit GPA is that valued.

Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/26/Aspiration_Management.jpg/550px-Aspiration_Management.jpg 

Meditation and Wellbeing

Meditation and Wellbeing

In the last couple of weeks of being in Science of Happiness we have learned about how genetics influence behavior, mental health/ illness, positive psychology and how to use our strengths to have a more positive way of dealing with situations in life. It was extremely interesting to hear about the twin studies since I am a twin. I have seen how just because someone shares the same genes does not mean they will act the same as their twin. For example, my sister and I are fraternal twins and we act the complete opposite although we grew up in the same environment and were treated the same. We also talked about depression and how having depression is different than just having sad feelings. It was amazing that we talked about the right way to try to help an individual who is suffering from depression. I also believe it is extremely important to find coping ways to deal with your anxiety. In a lot of instances individuals have anxiety but it can become a mental illness when a person begins to have panic attacks frequently when doing normal activities. This class has helped me learn how to deal with my own anxiety by doing meditations or deep breathing that we learn in the beginning of each class. Also, the activity where we had to write about things that happened through the week and how it affected us, and it helped me learn that many of the times my happiness is affected by other people’s views of my lifestyle.

Image: http://www.timetothrive.net.au/work-with-gayle/mindfulnessmeditation/

Blog Post #1

Blog Post #1

Health is one of the most important components of human happiness and one of the leading conditions for successful social and economic development. The realization of the intellectual, moral, spiritual, physical and reproductive potential is possible only in a healthy society. I would like to talk about mental health – this is the state of the mental sphere (mental phenomena) of a person, general mental comfort, providing an adequate behavioral response of a person in the environment and society.
You knew that research shows that genes are responsible for 50-70% of the diversity of people in terms of intelligence and 28-49% of differences in the severity of five “universal”, the most important personality traits: such as self-confidence, anxiety, friendliness, consciousness and intellectual flexibility.
Mental health is very important for a person. Each of us is experiencing or experiencing depression. Depression can be a serious health disorder, especially if it is delayed and takes a moderate or severe form. It can lead to significant human suffering and to its poor functioning at work, at school and in the family. In the worst cases, it can lead to suicide. The main thing in time to detect depression and help yourself or a person overcome it. And look at the world with a smile. Most of all, in order to get rid of the psychological problem, I consider positive psychology because it involves focusing on the positive aspects of a person and allows him to develop his potential, unlike the typical approach, when considering the weaknesses and weaknesses of a person. Personally, I don’t like to think about my own shortcomings and try to solve them, I’m just looking for something good and I’m trying to think only about it. The main thing for me is to develop my strength, I try to improve one thing and think only about it. I can call discipline my strong point, I have been very well developed since childhood, and I believe that discipline is the key to success. Developing your strengths is more profitable than correcting weak ones.

Final reflection

Final reflection

  1. I think one of the big overarching lessons this class has taught me is to appreciate winter. I know what you’re thinking… what does that have to do with the science of happiness, again? Well, I’ve always been concerned with productivity, growth, and activity. I’ve learned through this class that after a harvest, there is always a need for rest. After activity, the need for rest. Winter has given me a great opportunity to embrace dormancy, and use it as a time for meditation and reflection. Wishing for summer was not productive, wishing for something that is not here is creating more frustration in my life rather than staying present and learning to find value in what is here.  To accept and embrace it gives me new opportunities to find things I do like, instead of focusing on the perceived dread it brings me. This is a concept I learned through all the things this class has taught me, and it can be applied to everything, not just the seasons.  The science of happiness has been a very meaningful class to me in specific ways as well: as the vice president, and newly elected president, of National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI) on campus at VCU, mental health has always been important to me. I’ve always advocated for deep breathing, meditating, and have been a fan of yoga. This class really gave me the courage to fight through the boredom and frustrations meditation sometimes gave me, when I first started, and it allowed me to continue to get better at meditating: which made me want to do it more. While I knew sleep was important, and I love to sleep, I often wouldn’t make any time for it when I was stressed and pressed for time. Now, I make sure to go to bed early, and then get up early to get extra things done, I found, through tracking my sleep habits and such, that I’m more productive after I slept rather than trying to stay up and push myself through sheer exhaustion. As a social work major, I also found the strengths survey immeasurably valuable to me. While I knew I was kind, and fair, and could read other’s emotions pretty well I loved being able to know that in descending order my top five strengths are curiosity, fairness, kindness, social intelligence, and creativity. It also let me tune into the things I need to work on, like self-regulation. It helped to clear muddy water and put a name to things I felt like I was slacking on, and things I enjoyed doing: which overall really helped me to be able to reflect on it.
  2. I will commit to these changes in my personal life by continuing to use Calm (I finally decided to purchase a subscription, thanks to this class and how much I enjoyed the morning meditations) once throughout my day and once before I go to bed. I will use my strengths, like curiosity, to find out more about people and their dynamics: to better understand people and to know where they’re coming from. I also will use this strength to read more, I realize I really like finding things out! I will use my planner more to map out different times for different things and continue with CBT to help me understand different ways or regulating myself and my emotions while still taking care of my responsibilities, this has been a long road and I still have a long journey ahead of me in that regards. I have started volunteering with the pace center and helping Katie Gooch with her surveys about how to get the community more involved, for our final project, with Rosemary: this has lead to me landing a job at a daycare down the street where Katie’s son goes to school! It really highlights the importance and value of human connections and relationships,  a core value of social work.  It really showed me that when you work hard and are passionate about helping someone accomplish things, good karma returns to you. Send loving-kindness out, get loving-kindness back!
  3. Besides facebook to occasionally message my grandmother or look at VCU’s page, I don’t have social media so I plan to be sharing information with my own friends in my social network.  One of my friends is having a very hard time sleeping and is up all hours of the night and then having to sleep all day: this class came in very handy because I could help  him figure out a day-time plan for sorting his stress out, and incorporating meditation during the day to help the mind stop swirling, along with incorporating a little exercise and water, and setting up a sleep schedule. While I also did help him get a vibrating gentle alarm clock and some melatonin, and got him a special pretty notebook to journal his thoughts and sleep patterns in (yes, I know, I spoil my friends) the tactics taught in science of happiness gave me just the tools I needed to be able to give his sleep life a total glam makeover. While most of my friends could do with just a tip on how to make their techniques even better, or a fact to motivate them in the right direction,  it was really fun being able to combine a lot of what we learned in order to get him back on the right track. It really illustrated the 60% of the pie we somehow have control of. While genetics are sometimes annoying and not what we hoped for, we can make things a whole lot better by choosing our actions carefully and thoughtfully. I also had him read Trocket, Barnes, & Eggnet, 2000. This is the article about sleep and how it can affect grades, specifically wake up times. My friend was used to accidentally sleeping through his alarm, and subsequently his classes, and felt like If he could just wake up a little bit before his classes, it didn’t matter when he was to wake up. He has much better sleep habits now, I’m so glad to say! We will see how his GPA does next semester. Hopefully, I can say, “I told you so!”
  4. The included image encapsulates what I have learned through this class, this semester. I have learned that learning about myself involves a bunch of different little dimensions, a multi-faceted string of big and tiny drops.  Some you can barely see yourself in, but sure enough, you’re there if you look hard enough. This reminds me that everyone has core elements in common: and almost everything in this class can somehow be applied to everyone.
Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

Over the course of the school year, we have gone over many topics such as mindfulness, social emotional learning, depression, translational science, and positive psychology. The major lessons I have learned from the content this semester are to always center yourself in any situation that you are having and practicing mindfulness at least once a day can help you focus a little bit better through out the day. These are lessons that if practiced make a difference in one’s day. Some smaller topics we focused on were PERMA and VIA strengths. These topics were part of positive psychology and I was able to connect to them because they each posed qualities that I could use to better myself.

One thing i can take away from this class is the use of positive psychology. I have always had a weak view of myself mentally and physically. I have struggle with finding self-confidence and self-worth for a long time. I took me getting to know myself and applying good thought to my day-to-day for me to gain that confidence. While I was getting better at owning my own being I still had feelings of no self-worth. When we did the assignment of tracking automatic thoughts it really opened up my mind of what I am really thinking. I am someone who will push things away but when I did this assignment it made me acknowledge what I didn’t want to. Since then, when ever I feel down about myself, I sit back and reflect on what it is that is bothering me. I even type it out in my notes and it helps center myself and from there I mentally map out ways I can turn it around. This has helped me so much and I feel that just doing this is helping me grow in a sense.

3. How do you plan to share the information that you’ve learned and the insights you’ve gained with your social network (both personal network and social media network) after class is over?

I plan on sharing this information mainly through word of mouth. I believe that the best way to reach people is through making the personal connection with them face-to-face. It makes the information more relatable when you make the experience of it one that is memorable. If I were to share it on social media, I would use snapchat and just take short videos taking about my day and how I applied any of the topics I learned in class to my day or whatever situation I was experiencing.

 

 

I commented on Miriam and Mendezig.

BLOG POST 3

BLOG POST 3

Blog Post #3

Throughout this course the most major lesson I really learned was how important self care really is. Prioritizing myself had been my biggest challenge in life. Some of the smaller topics that really resonated with me were the mindfulness practices, the disconnecting challenges, and the VIA strengths survey. All of these topics were special to me for different reasons but also all tied back to my main point of self care and prioritization. Mindfulness practices was probably the biggest topic that stuck with me through this entire semester. I’ve always felt that practicing mindfulness with some sort of meditation was a great way to relieve stress and anxiety in my life. The disconnecting from screens and technology ties well with mindfulness because that week I recognized how much I have let my phone and social media impact my daily life and how I interact with the present world around me. Finally, the strengths survey was such a good way for me to get to know myself in a visual way. I learned things about myself more that I didn’t realize. I also noticed how much my strengths and weaknesses are impacted depending on what’s going on in my life at the time or what I have experienced and gone through.

Commitment is the hardest part to this all. I think the best way to commit to something is holding yourself accountable and really setting  realistic goals in my everyday life. I have already started to try and incorporate a few minutes of meditation at night before bed every day and have already noticed positive results in my sleep and mood when I wake up in the morning. I began implementing this as soon as possible because I have always been someone who struggles with anxiety and it has always been a big issue and has impacted my sleep and I wanted to really try meditation out. I definitely still need to work on disconnecting, I want to really work on being able to really not value social media and screens so much and just focus on the present life around me because I feel that a lot of my anxiety comes from social media and cyber issues and it has restricted me from really focusing on what’s going on around me rather than using it as something to avoid and distract myself.

My biggest plan for when it comes to spreading awareness for the importance of these topics is to really be transparent with the effects of it and what differences its made in my life. I also want to continue to challenge the people around me and in my life to try some of the things that i’m integrating in my everyday life in hopes that they begin to recognize the importance of it as well.

 

Final blog post

When I enrolled into this class, I did not know what to expect. I’ve learned so much these past couple of months, and some of the important lessons I was taught are the following:

  • Practicing mindfulness is effective only if you know what works for you.
  • Our phone/social media usage greatly impacts our wellbeing and our ability to focus, so it should be used in moderation and precautions should be taken.
  • Even just one person you have a positive relationship with can improve your life/wellbeing.
  • Identifying the coping methods that can help us cope with negative emotions we may experience is important.
  • Our strengths & virtues contribute to fulfillment and the good in life.
  • Addiction is like any other disease: preventable, treatable, causes biological changes, and if untreated, can last a lifetime.
  • Sleep is very important!

The most meaningful topics for me were mindfulness, positive relationships, strengths, emotional resilience in the digital age, and physical wellbeing. Practicing mindfulness helps me bring back my attention to the now. It allows me to pay attention to things most people forget about/ignore, such as the appearance of the sky, my breathing, the sounds I hear while walking, etc. Mindfulness also helps me concentrate on what’s right in front of me rather than worry about EVERYTHING that usually runs through my mind. When we discussed positive relationships, I instantly knew who was a part of my support group and it made me realize that I had more than just one. I tend to re-evaluate my relationships with others a lot, and I feel like as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten better at identifying the type of and strength of the connections I have with those around me.

I felt like I learned more about myself when we touched on the strengths topic. When we took the VIA Strengths survey, it allowed me to identify my strengths and weaknesses and determine how to utilize and/or improve them. My top strength was very accurate, so it also helped me believe more in the results I was given. I don’t know when exactly I started feeling this way, but for a while now I’ve felt sick and tired of my phone + social media. I noticed that seeing multiple notifications on my phone on a daily basis makes me anxious, so I’ve tried to use my phone less and turn off certain notifications in order to combat this. I think it’s important for myself and others to know how to cope with the negative things that come with social media but still know how to enjoy it as well. Maintaining my physical wellbeing is very important to me because no one can function as well as they normally would if they’re neglecting their basic needs. I also do it in order for my future self to be healthy and continue to enjoy life.

I still need to work on my physical wellbeing, especially since I’ve begun to neglect it due to finals. Last week I went to the gym for the first time in a long time, so I’m going to try to continue that even now. If I can’t go to the gym, I’ll follow exercise routines on YouTube that I’ve used in the past and do them in my room. When I become anxious or can’t focus, I’ll remember the mindfulness activities that we’ve talked about and/or did in class in order to bring myself back to the present. I need to look at the document Dr. Walsh posted on Blackboard on how to use our strengths in order to improve the ones that were my “weaknesses”. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing when I start to feel overwhelmed by my phone/social media, and continue re-evaluating my relationships with others as well as further developing the ones I want to maintain in the future.

I’ve already shared a bunch of the stuff we’ve done and learned in class on social media (not just on Instagram), and would tell people what I learned if I feel like they could benefit from it. I’ve also recommended the class to some of my friends and acquaintances at VCU, so I hope that they take it and share what they’ve learn and recommend it to others as well. I really wish this was a class that is required and/or I had taken it sooner because I did enjoy it. Thank you to Dr. Walsh, Rebecca, and everyone else who was a part of our class!

Image: https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/38686843_10155576234723053_3104955458847244288_n.jpg?_nc_cat=106&_nc_ht=scontent-iad3-1.xx&oh=4d615d34db2cadc9eb14ec1ad5c329d4&oe=5CB06ACC

Final Blog Post :(

I planned my schedule as everyone did last spring, including this class, which I knew I’ve always needed in my life because of my history of depression and anxiety. I was unaware, however, of the events to come after spring semester last year. Last summer was going swimmingly–pun intended–in comparison to years past. My mental health was doing much better than it ever had been, and the small things that used to get to me didn’t anymore I felt I was really making progress for the first time. I spent my days lounging by the lake and babysitting my brother, my nights waitressing at a local restaurant with all my friends, singing with my grandpa, and visiting a close friend–for lack of a better, more genuine term–Chad in Danville, Virginia.

My grandfather was diagnosed with cancer in early May, but we were optimistic of his recovery at his younger age of 69. In mid-June, preparing for a weekend trip to visit Chad, I received a call from my best friend Gian in hysterics. Chad had been hit by a truck while he was longboarding and was pronounced dead on arrival. I was completely devastated. Dreams of eventually having a stable relationship with him were completely shattered and my fragile balance was destroyed. A week after the funeral, I was in the room as my grandpa flatlined. This was unimaginably difficult for me to recover from if I can even say I have. My emotions are still continuously triggered by various things: skateboarders, talk of court cases (as he was a lawyer), red wine, hundreds of songs, and the list goes on.

Coming into The Science of Happiness, I expected to learn the technical formula for how to be happy; what resulted was not only this but much more. The most important lesson was that 40% of intentional activity–not to look at it as 40/100, but as a place you can reside in and control. The genetics aspect of my mental illness often got in the way of my perception of myself, but I  now realize there is so much I can do to help myself (and others) that I was unaware of. The VIA Strengths survey helped me understand that there a lot of positive qualities I have despite my constant struggles. Positive Psychology and the Perma Model brought a positive mindset to my attention, but honestly, the entire class was a positive experience for me. I missed a few more classes then I would have liked to because my anxiety often keeps me up at night, but everything I was able to absorb was valuable.

I have never been in a class that I have taken more from in relation to my personal life. I intend to use everything I learned. I honestly wish I could have access to the slides indefinitely, but my notes will have to suffice. I have already started to work on cultivating my strengths, something that has always interested me in the form of personality tests. I think the survey is a positive way to look at yourself; instead of focusing on your weaknesses, it focuses on strengths. I have also seen where relationships I’ve had in the past were negative, and how to help make my current ones more positive (inspired by Week Nine’s Positive Psychology activity). I was also so inspired by the week and time I spent without my phone that I went on an entire trip through nature without technology. I ended up writing my final journalism article on this amazingly positive experience, allowing me to blend materials from different classes, which was awesome!

As far as my professional life is concerned, I have been inspired to look into visiting the career center before I leave for the break to get a better idea on how to cultivate my professional strengths to cater towards the career I really want to go in to. Next semester, I want to start working out and doing mindfulness yoga regularly. I was doing yoga spring semester but fell off this semester because I felt it would be too much to take on, even though I knew how much it was improving my mood and view of myself and my body. I am still working on using technology less and being more present with the friends and family I have left to cherish; I intend to be successful with this over the holidays!

I’ve already shared my insights with my journalism class and my family during breaks, but I also intend to pitch my Journalism article to a larger audience–my professor suggested Style Weekly–after a few edits. The article talks about how beneficial nature, quality time, and lack of technology were to my mental health on the trip, and how everyone should try things out to improve their mood. I was so invested and passionate about this experience because it inspired all the qualities I consider to be “good” about myself–and my top strength, appreciation of beauty, was most definitely cultivated amongst the beautiful Shenandoah mountains in early fall.

Overall, I have enjoyed this class so much more than I thought I would! Every exercise had a purpose and assisted me in learning the material!

 

 

Blog Post 3

Blog Post 3

 

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josephsonak

The Science of Happiness class has been very interesting and informational. I took in everything we talked about with all seriousness and thought. The class really got me thinking about my life, and what things in my life are helping me live a better one. Some of the major lessons I learned were about positive psychology and Perma, positive relationships, and move/eat/sleep. I also really enjoyed the mindfulness practices. They were all very meaningful. Learning about how genetics is connected to so many things was very insightful, and when we did the family tree I really got the chance to see that. Some other things that we did for out weekly exercises, and talked about in class, such as, the strengths survey, the week we practiced mindfulness, and going screenless. I feel as those little things I have thought about before, and thought they weren’t going to help my well-being and happiness. Knowing them now, and the effects they can have on you, I feel differently. I am starting to think about the actions I am doing, and what kind of things in my daily life could change just a little bit to make me happier.

The mindfulness practices have been a complete game changer. I am just a complete bundle of stress and anxiety, and every night right after I shower and get ready for bed I meditate. It gives me a second to breathe, and allows me to not worry about anything and just be in the moment. It also has allowed me to have some of the greatest sleep I have ever had. Perma is something that I really think about, and am always trying to improve my happiness. All of the things that make up Perma, I feel like I have a good sense of and feel good about. Ever since learning about Perma, however, I have tried to improve on those things. It has actually been kind of stressful because it really has me reflecting, and trying to make the right choices for myself. I am not one for loving myself, and in all honesty I just don’t feel I deserve a pure happiness, so it can be stressful. After making these efforts though, I would say it has gotten easier and I feel better about myself.

I want to be an elementary school teacher after college, and in some schools they do this. They have mindfulness time, and it allows the students to take a minute to themselves and relax. I feel as if that is super important for them as students to have that time, and it is a skill I feel everyone should now. It can come in handy for them there whole life. I will definitely be implementing that skill in my classroom. I also will take what we learned about being a recovering ally, and we learned about substance abuse to help out some people who are very close to me and that I worry about. Some of them are students, and I have already told some of them about what resources on campus we have. I also feel like that is helping me make better decisions for myself.

 

Blog #3

Blog #3

As I reflect on the influence of the course lectures, I find it imperative to acknowledge how interwoven the teachings have been throughout semester. Ultimately, I was able to summarize the most impactful lessons for myself as equilibrium of the body and mind during the week 12 exercise. The consciousness is connected to your physical inhabitance. Similar to symbiotic relationships, if you disregard your body, you cause hindrance to the mind. If you nourish the physical aspect of your being, you are being attentive to your mind. This concept was later unraveled through weekly exercises and lectures, specifically sleep, nutrition, and exercise.  I’ve learned that sleep is important and not fulfilling the recommended requirement results in the mind not running at optimal performance. Sacrificing your scheduled sleep time for a little more cramming is never conducive for students. Nutrition is another important component to mind and body connection. Our energy is composed from what we choose to consume, if we fuel our bodies with dense and wasteful calories, we will not have the vitality to perform our tasks efficiently cause a lag in how our bodies may feel throughout the day. However, if we are able to be intuitive and smart about choices, we can generate long-lasting fuel that can sustain our bodies and mental performance. Lastly, I want to mention the benefits of exercise towards academic performance. My mindfulness increased and I felt more alertness just through spending a few minutes of the day being active.

These three components prompted me to becoming more resilient in working smarter, not harder. I enjoyed the benefits of sleeping and taking the time to exercise, but that also made me aware of time efficiency. I’ve incorporated the disconnection exercise during my study time so I can dedicate myself to focused work, putting my phone away and having my full attention on what I am doing in the moment has enhanced the feeling of ‘flow’. The satisfying feeling of achievement after completing tasks without the distraction of my phone and social media platforms has opened up the opportunity of enriching myself with more meaningful relationships with those around me. These are just a few changes I have attempted to make during the course and hope to continue the balance of body and mind through out my college career. I recently got a comment from a peer at a support group I attend and was told something along the lines “I want to be like you when I grow up, you seem like you have your life figured out.” Which left me dumbfounded at first, considering I am only 20 and often don’t know what I want a majority of the time. Simultaneously I thought of this course when the remark was made. I thought about the times where I felt pressure and frustration on how to successfully navigate the class structure. I came to the realization, for me personally, that the course has been about developing my own techniques towards positive experience and thought processes without sacrificing mental or physical health. I plan to share what I’ve learned inside the classroom with friends and family members and hopefully influence a life change. I’ve gathered so many to tools and resources to help me navigate future endeavors and I’m looking forward to sharing and continuing mindfulness with myself and others.

I picked this image because it candidly expresses the chaotic balance of life. Its easy to become over-stimulated in the world around us, but there is beauty and harmony in the ability to create equilibrium.

 

 

 

Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

I still can’t wrap my head at the fact that this is the last week of classes! It is that time of the semester to look back at the last few months and reflect on what I have learned in this class.

A major lesson that I have learned about this semester and that is of great meaning to me would be the topic of positive psychology. I think it is safe to say that we all have something going on in our lives that can at times get the best of us. This semester has been a huge eye-opener and stressful one because I am currently trying to figure out if I am in the right major and if this is where I want to be for the next two years of my undergraduate studies. Since being introduced to methods to flourish as an individual through the PERMA model, I can see a slight change in the way I go about dealing with situations. Through the PERMA model, I have made a connection relating to positive relations. For instance, in class we learned about the importance of surrounding ourselves with positive and people that will allow us to grow as an individual. This topic stuck out to me because, for the most part, I enjoy the people that I surround myself with, but there are a few individuals that I question if I should continue having a friendship with. I think it easier to tell someone to cut an individual out of your life that is bringing you down, but it is a lot more complex to do so if the person has confided in you with all their problems. I do not want to simply let these individuals go because I know they need help, but I also want to grow as a positive individual. Another major lesson that I learned in class was the whole concept of substance abuse. Although I have learned about alcoholism and drugs throughout middle school and high school, it is another thing to learn about it in college. For instance, now that most of us are adults, we are becoming aware and seeing first-hand individuals suffer from substance abuse. I personally have friends who are occasional drinkers, but I am glad that I am aware of what to do if in fact one of my friends ever need help. I am also glad to know that VCU offers many resources such as Rams in Recovery and The Well. Lastly, I would like to mention that we should all be aware of the huge substance abuse problem that many individuals are sadly facing because it can happen to any one of us.

I can apply the PERMA and the positive relations in my personal and professional life by surrounding myself with people who are career driven, motivated, and determined to continue bettering themselves. Additionally, if there is ever a situation where a family, friend, or future co-worker is experiencing hardships with substance abuse I will be able to intervene and be a support system and an ally.

Although it was hard to begin, I have made a couple of positive changes in my life, the first being incorporating mindfulness into my everyday life. Since learning about the positive effects that mindfulness brings to an individual, I took it upon myself to begin partaking in mindfulness exercises before and after bed by listening to mindfulness exercises on Youtube. I must admit that things were going well for about a week as I was consistent with watching these videos, but eventually, I stopped watching the videos. I noticed that after I was done with the mindfulness videos, I still managed to stay up late checking my social media. I knew this method of mindfulness was not ideal for me so I decided to incorporate a different method of mindfulness in my everyday life which has been meditation. This time around, I set up a yoga matte in a corner of my room so I can be reminded to meditate daily. My yoga matte has been on the ground ever since and whenever I am feeling stressed (which has been daily), I take about half an hour of my day to meditate; sometimes I do it a couple of times a day. This method has worked wonders for me because I pass by yoga matte daily so I am constantly reminded to take time to myself and relax. Another mindfulness activity that I was introduced through this class and continue to use is the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. For those of you who don’t remember, this breathing exercise consists of: breathing in through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, and finally exhaling for eight seconds. This breathing exercise has been a great addition to my life because I use it almost daily, especially when I am working on my assignments or right before I take an exam. I encourage you guys to also try this breathing exercise, especially in these upcoming weeks! I still need to work on the strengths that I scored low on from the VIA Strengths Survey. I think it is important to be aware of your strengths and weakness especially your weakness. I would like to work on improving my bottom five weaknesses because there is always room for improvement. Additionally, it is great to have concrete strengths in place in order to complete various tasks or simply interacting with other individuals.

It is important to take what we learned in class and reciprocate that knowledge to our social network, especially our personal network and social media network. I plan on continuing to post on my social media accounts my journey with mindfulness meditation. Regarding my personal network, I can share with my family and friends what I have learned in this class. I can also share with them what activities have helped me and have them partake in those activities as well.

 

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Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

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The major lessons that I learned in class this semester are that we are influenced not only by genetics, but also through intentional actions. This can be connected to mental health disorders and substance disorders. These disorders can be partly due to genetics, but the ways people decide to cope with these disorders will be determined by their intentional activities. Social well being is a topic that also plays a role as an intentional activity that can help cope with these disorders because the connections that we make can have a significant impact on different aspects of our lives. In our weekly reading, Sandstrom and Dunn constructed a study on how social interactions benefit our daily lives. They concluded that people with many strong and weak social ties, including those with the barista from Starbucks, were shown to have an impact of increased feelings of happiness and belonging. When I did the social network activity in class, I was surprised to see that I had many strong relationships and not many weak ones until I thought about my daily interactions with people who I didn’t think I was tied to. These topics were the most meaningful to me because they relate to how small pieces of one’s everyday life can impact them in the long run.

I will apply this to my social life by going out more and making connections with other people. Professionally, I understand that a simple “Hello” or a compliment to a coworker can go a long way in someone’s life. A change that I have started to make is how I address my friend who has substance use disorder. I have been able to talk with her about other problems that contribute to her substance use hoping that it will help her to limit her use. I still need to watch how I bring up the conversation of it because I can see that she gets frustrated when I try to mention it.

When class is over, I plan to share the information that I have learned with my family and friends by telling them what I’ve learned, the asking them to do it with me. I will not be able to include everything at one time, so I will introduce the more simpler aspects of what we learned first. As I come across inspiring quotes that relate to the topics that we discussed, I will continue to post them on my social media accounts because some people need to see things like that in order to stay motivated. I feel that the image that I provided relates to what I have learned this semester because it shows that what we choose to do and who we choose to surround ourselves do have an impact on our overall well being. 

Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

I have learned so much this semester in my Science of Happiness class and I intend to tell you all some of that information in this post.

One of the biggest tools I have learned in this course is Mindfulness, which I have actively tried to apply to my everyday life. Learning about mindfulness alone has kept me just more aware of being mindful. I now constantly find myself reflecting on my actions when I have not been mindful.

One day we had a lecture where a women came in and talked about research supporting how technology like smart phones are actually making us more unhappy. Leaving that lecture I did some real self reflection and realized I usually pass time just by engaging with my phone instead of engaging in life or just myself. When we are on social media we are constantly giving away our time to people that we may not even really know or care about. This is time we are taking away from ourselves. One activity I have tried to incorporate is putting my phone in my pocket when walking from class to class. I was walking and looking at my phone at the same time before and I realized how cluttered it made my mind when I arrived at my next class. Ever sense implementing this practice I have just noticed so much more about my environment and nature. I now laugh when I walk down the street and people are staring at their phone.

I also learned a great deal when doing the final project for this course. My group was assigned to Acts of Giving, and I volunteered at Food Not Bombs. I really love the feeling of giving back and how incredible you feel once you have given something to someone else. In our presentation our group outlined the positive effects this has on your happiness and the research to back this is so solid. By doing something selfless you are actually doing something very powerful for yourself.

I want to apply what I learned in this project to my life gong forward. Something I have been thinking about doing is the Carver Program which works with at risk children at the Carver elementary school close to campus. I heard about the project last year when someone presented about working there in their end of the year project. I have always been interested in working there to help out but this semester I just felt like I was to busy. I want to see what I can do in the spring semester and help out their in any capacity possible. I have worked with children before in the past and it is so rewarding.

Another great skill we have practiced is meditation. Not only does this get you in a mindful state but also relaxes your body and relieves stress. We meditated before almost every class and I feel I have learned a lot from doing this. I have tried to do some sort of meditation in the mornings lately to help me get in the right mood for the day ahead. I chose the image below because it shows a person meditating and he is connecting all these things in his life. This reminds me of this class before of our mindful meditation sessions before class.

 

I have been sharing what I have learned in this class with a housemate of mine and with my mom and brother. I just think some of the information is very valuable and I want to share it. I have talk about mindfulness with my housemate and brother. A catchy phrase that my friends and I have come up with is “hang up and hang out” and we use it when one of our friends is on their phone when we are trying to talk to them. Something all my housemates do is when we eat together we put our phones in the middle of the table and know one will look at them the entire we eat. I have found this to lead to much better conversation.  I have also talked about things that we can be predisposed to because of our genetics with my mom. I have shared over social media some of what I have learned in those social media posts we have done on my twitter account. To be honest I am not really sure how I would continue to share what I have learned in this class on social media I need to keep thinking about that question.

I am so glad I ended up taking this class and I have already been referring teammates to take this class next year and some have already enrolled.

Blog post 3

Blog post 3

throughout this class we have learned many different lessons form many different people. All of these lessons have one common thread and that is you can make active life choices to increase you happiness and well being no matter your circumstances you can reach that flourishing stage if you are willing to put in the work. this all starts with fulfilling your basic needs such as sleeping, eating and exercising. for you mind to be at its best your body that supports it needs this is something I fully embrace as I try my best to eat healthy and work out as often as possible. once those are meet you can start to work on accomplishing the things set forth in the PERMA model to achieve this by implementing other things we learned in class such as staying off our phones around bed time to help with sleep and off social media to prevent over comparing. mindfulness is also another very important factor and a great way to help you analyze a situation to help prevent spiraling and keep things in perspective. Establishing solid connections with others who are flourishing is also very important according to research your happiness is increased by not only having these relationships but these relationships being with happy people. so its in your best interest to translate all of the science we have learned into actionable things for you to use not only your self but also for your friends and family to use. therefore I intend to try to spread these ideas to my close friends as im not one for big posts on social media but just by pointing them to research that could help them get through everyday life can be very useful. All of this can’t be accomplished at once but I’ve started to add in mindfulness into my day as often as possible I attend the ICA event in order to help get a more professional guided experience as its a nice change up from practicing it at home. another big take away for me is lowering my time on my phone as this has been an issue thats plagued me for quite sometime i’ve already seen major decreases in usage which is always good to see that these changes are possible. my biggest challenge will be embracing the changes I need to make to my academic mindset in order to put me in a growth mindset instead of the fixed mindset I find myself in quite often.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain

I feel as though this image best signifies my feelings towards this class as all applying all of these lessons will take time as its journey and it won’t be easy but if you prepare you can reach the top (flourish)

Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

I added this photo because “cause and effect” has been very important for me to remember… that everything has a cause and effect. I learned how important it is to be present in making decisions in my life so that I am able to foresee the consequences, and make a call on whether or not something would lead to a positive outcome and ultimately my happiness. The words “stop, breathe, and think” mean a lot, because something so simple is so powerful. Breathing is so important to everything we do, and so healthy for the mind. Breathing practices in mindfulness and meditation have been a great help to me.

At the end of this summer on August 15th I was hospitalized for pancreatitis. This illness was caused by alcoholism, an addiction that I suffered with for 3 years without seeking help. That was the last day I had a drink and then I visited Rams in Recovery, where I became a member, and was recommended this class. This semester is the first that I’ve taken more than 1 class in ages, and I was nervous. My dealings with addiction started long ago in my teens, and in the past couple of years I have developed anxiety, where there were times when it was crippling. I didn’t take this class expecting anything, but of all the topics we covered these past couple of months… I learned so much and have really put it into practice in my life.  I really liked that at the start of this class we were given the opportunity to learn about ourselves; to learn about our own thought processes and recognize our individual strengths. When I took the VIA Strengths survey before, my top strengths were honesty and leadership, while today my test reflects my top two strengths as bravery and forgiveness. This was interesting to me… and I wondered if it had anything to do with the changes I’ve made since I quit alcohol, joined Rams in Recovery, and started taking this class.

I really started to realize this when we were in about week 7 and were discussing mindfulness and meditation… and learning how to disconnect. I began to practice mindfulness, completing mindfulness activities for our assignments, but realized how calmed I became after taking a step back to be in the present. I continued mindfulness activities about twice a week, and i’m still going strong with it today. It helps me. The most important things I learned, the most impactful realizations I’ve had over these months have been small things that I would never have thought would be so significant. An example is: simply breathing. As part of my meditation activities the instructions to breathe reminded ME that before, I rarely took a moment to just take a deep breath. After practicing mindfulness frequently, I’ve gotten better at it, such as one would with anything they spend time practicing. By that I mean that it is easier for me to become present and remained focus during those periods of meditation. Mindfulness and meditation are now a big part of my life and I am grateful for learning those useful tools.

This semester I learned how important it was to take time to disconnect from distracting tech devices and be present in the moment. When we did the activity in class I did alright, but outside of class, in the beginning, I found it quite difficult to step away from my smartphone. When I didn’t have it, I realized how much I relied on it… and not just to communicate, but, to be happy. Considering Fredrick’s Broaden and Build Theory, relying on social media likes was never going to really make me happy. It was never going to go anywhere. The dopamine rush would be fleeting, and wouldn’t lead to happiness in the long run. I like Fredrick’s theory, because sometimes I feel it is as simple as just thinking of something that brings you joy, no matter what it is, and to put that emotion in to everything else you do. I practiced this frequently and found that it helped me to stay relaxed and calm in times when I was frustrated, such as dealing with a spat between friends.

As to relationships, the tools I have been given in this class have allowed me to assess the value of my relationships, with my friends and my family. There were some friends lost… but those few were lost over a lack of communication that we both were self aware of and decided not to attempt to rectify it. That to me showed how much we really cared about being in each other’s lives, and taught me to prioritize with the people that have an interest in both my everyday life as well as my recovery. My recovery has consisted of some ups and downs, but mostly ups. I haven’t had much trouble with cravings, but have felt the need to replace it and had to fight those urges. Being a psychology major in psychology classes and classes such as SOH have allowed me to actively be in the front seat, at the wheel of my brain, so to speak. I feel that when I am actively assessing my feelings and emotions that I am able to change them, by performing activities I know will boost my mood and affect my brain chemicals.

The most important activity to help my anxiety besides meditation is definitely exercise. I worked with a personal trainer in the gym once a week for the past 9 months and have improved a lot. I am proud of my improvement, where I have lost half the weight I gained from drinking and gained a large amount of muscle. My favorite part about working out is of course the endorphins, the “runner’s high”, I feel great when I am running or lifting and have learned that exercise, even something as simple as a half mile walk to get some fresh air can greatly reduce my feelings of stress and anxiety. I feel that i have learned an abundance of useful tools to address my anxiety, stress, and aid my recovery.

My recovery is ongoing of course, and through all of my experience with it I feel that the things I have learned in this class have perhaps been even more helpful than AA/NA programs I have been apart of over the years. Its imperative that people in recovery receive concrete solutions to the tragedy that is living with an addiction to a substance. I have been quite pleased with the way most of the people in my life have aided me in my recovery, and am thankful for them. The changes I have made in my social network since I quit drinking have allowed me to achieve positive change by not being brought down by others who do not want to better themselves. I am aware how much impact close friendships have on the people in them, and will continue to vet the people that come into my life as I am going through a sensitive time and really, need all the help I can get right now.

Overall, this semester,  the weekly activities we were assigned and completed were of a great help, as these topics were not only introduced, but we were all able to put them to practice in our own individual lives. This was great because some of these activities such as mindfulness/meditation, and disconnecting from devices, is not something that they would do unprompted. Being introduced to these things was great because we were able to choose whether we wanted to continue applying these tips and tricks to our lives. Many suffer with mental illnesses, anxiety, depression, and addiction. This class has taught me that the individual has the power to change their own lives and make themselves happy through actively making changes. Positive psychology is meant to be the study of how people can live the happiest and most fulfilling lives possible, and so far these psychologists have done great work. I think the best thing I can say besides how thankful I am for those tools, is that this class really gave me a motivation kick, something I desperately needed. I will definitely continue to use everything I learned in this class in my life going forward, and I am going to miss it. :’)

SOH Blog Post #3

SOH Blog Post #3

During this semester I have learned a lot of things but everything we learned all seems to comeback to 2 main ideas, the PERMA model and the genetics and happiness model.  From these two topics I have become more aware on my outlook on happiness especially since 40% of your happiness is based on actions that you take on a daily basis. Some other topics that I thought were meaningful were eat, move, sleep because I learned so much about my own sleeping habits after doing the sleep journal and since then have attempted to stop napping as much as I had been although it has been really hard and I will have to keep trying and improving at this. Another topic I found meaningful was  social well being because I enjoyed the  weekly reading ‘Social Interactions and Well-Being: The Surprising Power of Weak Ties’ by Gillian M. Sandstrom and Elizabeth W. Dunn, in this reading I learned the importance of having weak ties which is someone you may see regularly but are not close to each other.  This reminded me of last year where I would go to Starbucks almost everyday and always ask for extra caramel in my drink and the barista ended up learning my name and added the extra caramel without me asking. I really enjoyed going there often and having that slight connection and it did actually make me happier. The last topic I liked was the grit scale because during the lecture we took quizzes and I noticed that I didn’t have a high level of grit because I cant stick to one thing for a long time which made me determined to try and improve on that.

Something that I want to do to share all the information I learned is to mention these things to people I care about which I actually have already started doing by telling my friends and boyfriend on how to help their anxiety and maybe try mindfulness meditation.  I’m not certain on what to do over social media but I could post the link to the calm app on my my social media to have people try it.

Source Citation:

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTs2Tn76EOcOKN_6CAKpyPKazoWxKjeiOw9XOR0v_Eu-NM2JCsg

 

 

Blog Post 3 – Everything Comes Full Circle

Blog Post 3 – Everything Comes Full Circle

From  these past few weeks, we discussed the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle and Academic and Social Well-being. All the points made in class were things that I already had knowledge of generally, but I do admit it gave me a better perspective on what action and steps that I need to take to have an even better successful journey.

We did an assignment centered around Eat, Move, and Sleep. I chose to focus on exercise for the week as I was already starting to try and get back in shape and work out regularly. It was a bit of a challenge to keep going near the end of the week as assignments and my work schedule had gotten in the way of things, and this made me realize that I can not just bail on my exercise because life can get tough. So I had decided to work with my schedule instead of against it. For instance I usually would get up at 5:30 every morning to get a workout in at the gym in my apartment, and some days that works out fine, other days it doesn’t and that can be discouraging. So instead of beating myself up when that happens, I may just bike a longer route to school to get those extra minutes of exercise in, jog up the stairs, or even do something crazy like walk an hour to walk (which I have done before). Main point is, as long as I’m active and feeling encouraged, then everything would be all good.

Another activity that I enjoyed was when we ranked our needs, could have, and don’t needs for our future career and it did give me a better perspective on what my priorities are for my career. I plan on becoming a Clinical Psychologist so naturally my top priority was to help others in need and a could have but not necessary element was a high salary. A high salary is very much appreciated indeed, however from the beginning I knew that money is not my drive for a career.

I will be graduating this spring and planning on taking a year off to find research and internship opportunities to better my academic and career well-being before applying for grad school. Being in this class and hearing these lectures has given me the courage to talk to my advisers about my career plans, go to career advising, and even contacting real Clinical Psychologists and asking them what they love about their job and what they would do differently.

SOH Blog Post #3

SOH Blog Post #3

The major lessons I have learned in this class have related to knowing yourself. Whether it be your genetic predispositions or your stress and anxiety triggers. You are the only person in charge of making yourself happy and there are proven steps to help all individuals reach that goal. This class taught me that it does take time and effort to become happy and stay happy it is not something that will magically happen over night. I learned what is in my control to make me happy and what I can’t change so I don’t focus on it.

 

I have learned a lot about making good relationships from this class and how to maintain them. This has impacted my friend circle which did get smaller but also became more of a pillar I can rely on. I am also someone they can rely on and be there when someone isn’t having a good day. My relationships have become less casual and more in depth with how each person is actually feeling. Which has been great for me as I feel a lot of anxiety graduating and uncertainty of what is next.

 

The tools we have learned in the past weeks have helped that anxiety and stress. I am actually eating vegetables in multiple meals a day now which I hadn’t done in two years. Which has made me physically but more so mentally feel better. This combined with me trying to get the gym more have really improved my mental state. It may seem like common knowledge that taking care of your body will make you feel better. Yet as a college student sometimes you just lose track of things and taking care of yourself seems to be the first thing we discard for some reason. The last few weeks were a good reminder of how important it is to take care of your body so you feel your best.

 

The positive psychology reading that we did in the beginning of the semester really stuck with me throughout the year. The reading talks about how positive psychology will study what “makes life worth living” which I found really interest. I do believe that we need psychologists to focus on depression, bipolar disorder, and other diseases that hinder people. But the study of what drives happiness can have such a big impact for a huge number of people.

 

The biggest impact this class has had on me is that I now truly try and take care of my body. My mom has even joined in for the last month and we have conversations about how we are feeling physically of if we skipped a day. She has motivated me by out working me and telling me to stop skipping days. She always says if a 50 some odd year woman can do it so can you. I would have skipped a lot more days of eating right and going to the gym if it wasn’t for her.

 

Once I graduate I do plan to share the little tricks that I thought were helpful. The exercise where we choose what we would most like in a job and what we could live without was a great exercise. By narrowing down the traits you can realistically have at a job really put what you want into perspective and identifies what you need. That along with taking 5 minutes to meditate when entering a different space to make sure you are present is what I will pass on the most.

Blog Post 3

This class has taught me many major lessons regarding mental health and positive thinking. One of the biggest concepts that I learned about and I feel helped me improve my mental health was mindfulness. I honestly did not really think that mindfulness is real and there is science behind it until I took this class but afterwards, I started using the techniques we have learned to deal with my anxiety and I saw improvements. I also really liked the different assessments we took like the one about strengths or susceptibility to addiction because they helped me understand different aspects of my personality and why I reacted in certain ways to situations. I have panic attacks and at first I had no idea what was causing them but after learning about behavioral tendencies in this class, I started picking up signs in certain situations to see why I was having the attacks.

As I stated previously, I struggle with anxiety, and something I started doing is every time I feel that I am going to have an anxiety attack, I practiced mindfulness, just like how we do at the start of every class. I also started going to yoga and I attended the mindfulness session that happened at the ICA this semester. These simple tasks started showing results, and along with going to Vcu counseling, I have been seeing improvements with my mental health, and specifically with dealing with my anxiety. In the future I plan to continue practicing mindfulness and also fostering healthy relationships. I think that creating positive relationships can be difficult while in college. Mainly because you meet so many people every day and I am an extrovert and I love to meet new people, so I want to become friends with everyone. But what I have learned is that it is more important to have some strong healthy friendships than to have a bunch of superficial ones. So every time I feel like someone in my life is bringing me negativity I go through a thought process of whether its just a situational problem or there is a problem in the relationship and if I feel that it is in the relationship, I try to remove myself from that friendship because it is better for my mental health.

I have actually been talking about this class with my friends all through out this semester and suggesting more people to take it! But I plan to share more knowledge through sharing more articles on my social media, being more open about mental health and different healthy coping mechanisms with my social network, and just using positive methods to help people who are struggling. I think the last unit when we learned about recovery and substance abuse has equipped me to help people get help. I also will tell people to become recovery allies because I think that was a big learning experience .

Mindfulness and Wellness

Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

For the past three years of college, happy moments for me were short and rare. When sad days occurred, the first thing I would do was call my parents. My mom would always say that I was getting in the way of my happiness, but I never really believed her. Because I was coming up on my senior year, my number one goal was to make this not only the best year of college, but the best year of my life. In order for me to do that, I needed to find out how to obtain happiness and keep it. This was the reason I enrolled in the “Science of Happiness” course.

I admit that I didn’t read a lot about what the course was going to offer me before I enrolled or even before the first day of class and I assumed that this class was going to teach me how happiness was genetically-based When Dr. Dick gave her lecture on “How Genetics AND Environment Influence Your Behavior” and I read her research paper, I gained a deeper understanding of how the environment also plays a vital role in a positive life as you get older. That lecture set a foundation for me of what this class was going to be about. As the semester went on, I learned there was not one path to a positive life, specifically I began to understand how I can change my environment to lead a happier life, as well as how I can use this information to help others.

One of the lessons I learned was when it comes to living a more positive life, everyone has different ways of achieving that goal. This stood out to me most in the “Positive Psychology” and “Mindfulness” lectures. What I liked about this exercise was it showed how everyone does not, or cannot, achieve happiness in the same way. From the class “wordcloud,” you could see everyone’s top five strengths and the uniqueness of those strengths. Therefore, this suggested that the techniques for students to lead a more positive life have to be tailored to a person’s strengths. Additionally, in the mindfulness lecture, I learned a few examples of “mindful” techniques such as breathing, eating, coloring, and exercising. I feel that more important than learning what some of the techniques are and knowing there are many techniques to use to achieve mindfulness was learning that the best techniques are the ones that work for you. For me, I discovered that walking around campus worked best for me. When I was able to take twenty minutes at least twice a day to walk around campus and enjoy the day, I was in a better mood and I felt more grateful for that day , which was also how I was able to exercise my top strength, gratitude.

This class also helped me make sense of what my mom was trying to say. In the middle of the semester, I realized that the main reason why I had a hard time achieving happiness these past three years was because I never tried to change anything. Happiness does not come overnight and you don’t have to do any grand gestures to achieve it. While I added mindful walks and exercising my gratitude to help improve my mood, mostly what helped me more was making changes in my daily routine. Instituting small changes from other class lectures also greatly improved my mood. For example, the “Emotional Resilience” lecture influenced me to shut off most electronics after 10:30 pm every night. And, after the “Wellbeing – Eat and Sleep” lectures, I decided to stop leaving the TV on while I slept and I meal prepped every Sunday. These small changes made me feel like I had more time in the day to get things done, while still being able to enjoy each day. Not only did these changes give me more time during the day, but I believe these things allowed my brain to “shut down” during the night. I really felt more rested and more positive than I did in the past.

Even though these changes work for me now, they may not work for me in the future. I realize my most stressful events usually happen in the spring semester and I also recognize that there are going to be more stressful days as I grow older. Probably, important in this recognition is the realization that if these techniques are not leading to continued improvement, then I have learned not to remain stagnant. I need to keep making changes to my techniques until I find what is right and what works well for me at that time. I also know that I can continue making improvements to my happiness. For example, I learned that some of my bottom strengths are forgiveness and creativity. Rather than just focusing on my top strength exercises, I can also integrate techniques that incorporate the bottom strengths. Another place I can improve in my life is in my thought processes. In my “Automatic Thoughts” exercise, I learned that I think the worse first so I won’t get my hopes up. I can start changing that by thinking of more positive outcomes and taking positives from negative outcomes.

Not only do I want to just help myself, but I plan to use what I learned from this class to help others. I plan to use the information I learned to help my friends, family and teammates. If my friends, family, and teammates are in need, I will start off by just being there so they can talk to me. Hopefully, I can give them positive advice when they need it. If there are situations where I believe I cannot help, I will offer resources so they can consult with a professional who knows how to help them. In some ways, I have already started to help others by sharing information I learned from this class. When my parents are stressed, I suggest they take a deep breath, remind them that things will be alright, and suggest even a short “mindful” walk. Even more important, my parents have commented about the suggestions I have made and the noticeable changes in my mood this semester.

Overall, I am so thankful for being in this class. I feel more confident about having a great senior year. The image that I chose to represent what I learned was a quote. This quote is somewhat similar to what my mom says to me. “Happiness won’t just come to me unless I decide to find it. And while people can help me, how I achieve my happiness depends on me.”

blog post #3

blog post #3

The topics discussed during this semester have all built on top of each other. We have learned skills to help in all areas of our lives. Some of these skills include being mindful, having emotional resilience, being able to identify our strengths and weaknesses, and how to have more positive and meaningful relationships. Learning about how our genes affect our happiness through our attitudes and behaviors in the first part of this class helped open the door to understand how we can control our own happiness based on things that feel out of our hands. After this we learned about other topics that helped teach us how to grow the skills we were learning about like positive psychology, physical wellbeing, social emotional learning, and social wellbeing. We learned about these skills through readings and class lectures. We were then able to practice and put many of these skills into use through homework and own personal experiences. The most meaningful topic to me from this semester was learning about mindfulness and how important it is because a lot of the other skills and coping techniques we learned about would not work as well if a person was not mindful or didn’t know what mindfulness is. Mindfulness, to me, seems like the base building block of all the skills we discussed this semester. I found all the topics interesting and helpful in different ways. Our class discussions were very interesting when people wanted them to be and I felt that as a class we broke down a lot of the stigmas behind harder topics like unhealthy relationships and substance abuse. Overall, my experience of this class was very useful and eye opening in many ways. I found it refreshing to have a class that focused just on how to better one’s life and I feel that everyone at VCU should take this class or that other classes should use some of the information we learn about in their own material in order to benefit the students more.

This class has really helped me form an idea about how to achieve the best life possible. I have made changes already since the beginning of the semester by practicing mindfulness through a few different ways that we learned about in class. I have started doing yoga and pilates as a type of mindful movement and exercise and I also practice mindful breathing exercises every morning to start my day. I have found that doing these simple things every week has significantly improved my mental health and has decreased the stress I feel on a daily basis. I plan on continuing to practice mindfulness in different ways to keep it new and fresh in my life. I think I still struggle with some of the other topics we learned about like having a set sleep schedule and being mindful about when and where I eat my meals. I usually eat while watching TV and I also fall asleep on the couch watching TV before I got to bed so those are both things I need to be more mindful of. Also I feel like I still use my phone more than I should on a daily basis. I plan to work on these by trying to use more of the skills we learned about in class and also by limiting my daily screen time. I think using these skills and working on improving my weaknesses will help control my stress levels as I move into the next stages of my life after graduation. Having these skills in a professional setting will help me stand out and be able to connect and communicate easier because I will not be as stressed in the situation. These skills have and will continue to improve my personal relationships because they have taught me healthier ways to be in those relationships and how to be a more supportive and open person in general.

I have already shared much of what I’ve learned in this class to my family and friends and they have all began to make small changes of their own to help improve their lives. I plan to continue to spread this knowledge to anyone who will listen because I believe the skills we learned about in this class are needed to live a happy life. My goal for the future is to be in the psychology field in some way or another and I know these skills will be helpful for many people I will come into contact with. I am grateful for the information discussed in this class because it confirms much of what I want to do with my life which is helping people find a natural and heathy way to relieve stress and increase quality of life without having to rely on medication.

I chose the image above because I felt that it had a lot of the main topics we discussed this semester in class. This image shows that mental health is not based solely on one aspect of life but on many working together and that having the skills shown in the picture leads to a healthier and happier life.

 

End of Semester Reflections

End of Semester Reflections

The biggest lesson I learned from the content this semester, was that I have control over my life and well-being.  Despite genetic influences and external context, we have power over our intentional activity. We have control over who we let into our life, our physical well-being, our technology use, and our own thoughts.  Implementing changes to improve these aspects in my life has been an important learning and growing experience.

Practicing positive psychology everyday has been a work in progress.  The most challenging part has been stopping automatic negative thoughts when people around me are negative.  It is easy for other people to control my mood, but practicing mindfulness has been helpful in these instances.   The weekly exercise we did, asking 3-5 friends what they like about us, inspired me to create a bulletin board in my room of cards and notes from my close family members and friends.  It is nice to have some of my meaningful notes in a place where I can easily look at everyday. Not only does it improve my attitude, but it makes me practice gratitude toward my relationships.  I have been able to drastically improve my practice of gratitude, which was low on my VIA Strengths Test. The bulletin board is the picture I have chosen to summarize what I have learned. For me, it illustrates positive relationships and gratitude, it reminds me to be mindful in my interactions with others, and encourages me to share my happiness with my own social network.  

I hope to improve my professional life by making an appointment at Career Services.  I have started to think more about what I value in a career. I am a junior this year, and feel that there is more I can do to enhance my academic and career well-being.  First, I hope to improve my sleeping habits. I have adjusted my class schedule for next semester to better accommodate the changes I want to make in my sleeping habits. I attended a sunrise yoga event on campus this semester with a friend.  While I discovered yoga is not for me (it was a little too slow-paced for my short attention span), I did learn that waking up early to exercise made me energized for the day and go to bed on time. I was also able to focus better in my classes that day.  Moving forward, I hope to implement some type of exercise into my life. I think I would enjoy hiking, because it seems like it would also be a great mindful activity. A study we read for class found that waking up early and eating breakfast both contributed to higher GPAs for college students.  Hiking in the morning over the weekend and getting breakfast afterward might be a good way I can make significant changes to my academic well-being.

I have been able to share new insights within my personal network, specifically with my close friends and roommates.  From this information, my roommates and I have initiated small changes in our lives. For instance, once a week we have “family dinner” in which we all contribute to a homemade meal and leave our phones in our rooms during dinner.  We also have been motivating each other to study and work toward our goals. One of my roommates actually pulled me out of bed, hid my phone, and made me a checklist of things to do. Because I am a terrible procrastinator and have trouble initiating real change, despite wanting to, I am very grateful to have positive relationships that push and challenge me.  Having strong ties in my life with people who want the best for me has contributed to my greater feelings of happiness. I plan on sharing what I have learned by practicing gratitude and mindfulness interventions with people in my social network. By having more meaningful interactions with some of my weaker ties, such as my co-workers or classmates, I will also be able to improve my social and emotional well being.  

Positive recovery was a meaningful topic for me this semester, because a family member has struggled with alcoholism for as long as I can remember.  Although I have a better understanding of the topic, it is still hard for me to be an ally to someone who has made my own life extremely difficult (forgiveness is also low on my list of VIA strengths).  I do, however, think I can share some new techniques in order to bring new meaning, gratitude, and positivity into his life, so that over time we can improve our relationship.

 

Science of Happiness Blog post #3

Science of Happiness Blog post #3

Science of Happiness Blog post #3

Image result for happiness

 

The ending lectures for SOH I believe were the most impactful. I’ve had friends ask me about this class and even tell me that I’ve changed since I started this class. I try to apply teachings/lessons from each lecture to my life and truly believe this course has truly impacted my way of thinking, social interactions and more.

The remaining lectures brought the course full circle. It was centered on academic and physical wellbeing, social interactions and even personal values when looking for work. The last topic resonated the most with me. We did an activity where we ranked our values and whether they were, needed, slightly needed or whether we could be without. Since I am graduating this semester and have been applying for more professional jobs, I realized the jobs I was applying for did not completely align with my morals. They were primarily to fulfill the role of being employed right after college. Due to societal and familial pressure we often let our career become our identity. We go so far as to let our careers, either as students or as professionals, dictate and worth and it should be this way.

Another topic that really made me think was when we talked about social networks and happiness. You have an increased percentage of being happy if you surround yourself with happy people. This percentage increases if the people you surround yourself with have surrounded themselves with other happy individuals as well. Relationship also affect mortality, with healthier relationships increasing mortality and toxic ones decreasing it accordingly. Very seldom have I really considered the mental state of the people I have surrounded myself with. Even less likely have I considered the impact my social network is having on me.

This course, if taken seriously, offers valuable information that is well founded with years of research. I have mentioned this course or at the very least the information lectured in class with friends. I have enjoyed this each and every class and will continue to encourage any and everyone I can to take this course or something like it because it has truly been beneficial.

Blog Post #3

Blog Post #3

(U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Heather Heiney)

Blog Post #3

Reaching a state of well-being, a place where you can say outright that you are happy, where you do not have to always fake a smile is something everyone thrives for. You hear so many different ways to get there, specific medications and therapies, meditations and activities, but really what it all stems from is the basics of taking care of your body. So many overlook the importance of the ‘eat, move, sleep’ movement, keying it as too simple but this is where everything grows from.

Think of your body as a vehicle, you nourish it, you drive it, and you let it rest so why do people struggle so hard to do this for themselves. During the lecture about ‘Eat, Sleep, and Move’ we learned that treating our body well should always be the first step. We need to eat healthy in order to fuel us, you cannot drive a car with no gas so how to do expect to function without the proper nutrients. We also need rest, time to let our body recover after a long day so out engines do not overheat. The last vital ingredient is to move so are systems do not rust. Exercise releases positive endorphins that improve your mood, this by no mean means you need to run a marathon but every little step helps.

While these three things will not cure your depression they are vital in reaching that goal. I believe that before anything else the concept of self-care must be learned. This in particular, has proven very helpful to me. I exercise so that I can allow myself to eat, I eat to allow myself to exercise, and I sleep to allow these things to take effect. On a broader scale, this class taught us way to reach these goals, and how it does not have to be a huge time commitment. In one of the weekly readings, ‘Relationship of smartphone use severity with sleep quality, depression, and anxiety in university student’, we learned that simply putting you device away an hour before bed can vastly improve sleep quality and this in toe helps mood.

I do and will continue to try to incorporate these lessons into my life. I will make sure my needs are always met so my body is strong enough to jump the hurdles thrown my way. I also wish to work some of the beneficial habits I have learned into the lives of those close to me. I will continue to try and motivate or drag people to exercise. I will explain ways to achieve better sleep, as this is something I have noticed made the hugest difference in my life. I will make myself vulnerable to really show the change these simple steps can cause. I will help spread the message.

 

Weeks 6-10

Weeks 6-10

Image result for how you interact with the world

I noticed that the common factor in the topics covered in the past 5 weeks is one’s self. For Social Emotional Learning (SEL), one of the skills is self-awareness. I strongly believe that if you do not know what works for you and what doesn’t, then it will impact how you interact with others and how everything else will impact you. I think it’s important to recognize our strengths and our weaknesses, which can sometimes be the same thing, in order to grow as an individual. For example, I’ve been told that I am a perfectionist. It is my strength because I am very detailed-oriented, I continuously push myself in order to see how far I can go, and I will put in more than 100% in what I do. However, this is also my weakness because I will obsess over minor things and there will be times I will feel unsatisfied with what I’ve created because I’ll feel as though I could’ve done better or done something differently.

So before going on to developing the other skills that make up SEL (self-management, relationship skills, responsible decision-making, and social awareness), we have to “recognize our own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence our behavior” as well as “assess one’s strengths and limitations”. SEL relates to what we learned during the first 5 weeks since we took the VIA survey for our positive psychology exercise in order to determine what our individual strengths were and in which skills we needed to improve on. I thought the “304 Ways to Use Your Strengths” document that Dr. Walsh shared with the class was useful in order to accomplish this. I’ve only looked at how to use my top strength, which is Appreciation for Beauty & Excellence, just to see how I’ve incorporated it into my daily life but I plan on looking at my lowest 5 skills (forgiveness, spirituality, humility, perseverance, and prudence) in order to further develop them.

When I saw that we would be touching on mindfulness, I was really excited since I find it very useful and enjoy practicing it! Mindfulness allows us to become fully aware of our current emotions and thoughts that are going through our head at the present moment. By practicing mindfulness, we are able to bring our attention back to things we lose sight of/control over when we are overwhelmed by internal and external factors that affect our overall well-being, such as the way we breathe, our heartbeat, the sensations we feel throughout our entire body, etc. This allows us to return to a neutral/calm state in order to figure out how to tackle what is that we’re struggling with. I felt that this topic was relevant to depression and mood states as well as positive psychology since mindfulness has been used as a coping method for those who struggle with their mental health. It relates to Fredrickson’s Broaden and Build Theory because by practicing mindfulness, we’ll be aware of what is negatively affecting us and how to cope with these negative emotions to return to a positive mood by utilizing other coping strategies (ex: reaching out to people in our support system).

The other topics, Emotional Resilience in a Digital Age, Positive Relationships, and Getting to Know Yourself also focus on one’s self since how we view ourselves can be impacted by technology, others, and by our own thoughts. We unconsciously use technology more than we think we do and are often distracted by it rather than utilizing it to our advantage by being productive, neglect taking care of other responsibilities, or divert our attention on what we are doing or who we are interacting with. I don’t know when I began to realize I felt this way, but the constant overflow of messages and notifications that appear on my phone’s screen make me extremely anxious. There are days I wish I could just throw away my phone and not worry about it, but it’s difficult to do that since I use my phone to keep in touch with others and stay up-to-date about my interests via social media. With Apple’s recent update, I’ve been able to limit my phone usage using the Screen Time service and keep track of how often I use my phone (ex: how much time I spend on social media), which I think is something we can all benefit from since our phones are a huge distraction.

Another reason why I try to reduce my phone usage, especially with social media, is because I find myself comparing myself to others. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does I do feel bad about myself, mostly when I see posts in regards to body image and overall appearance. I’m somewhat insecure about my skin (I’ve been dealing with acne for as long as I can remember) and my weight even though I’m considered skinny, but because we are the ones living in our bodies, no one will ever understand why we feel the way we do even if we perceive each other’s “flaws” as “goals”. It also doesn’t help that what other people post make us feel like we need to change our appearances or that they’re living a more fulfilling life. But not everything is as it seems since most people tend to share only the positive things that occur in their lives.

So depending on how we utilize technology is whether it can positively or negatively impact us. We use it as a way to stay in touch with close ones, which is how this topic intertwines with positive relationships. Positive relationships deals with all types of relationships: the one we have with ourselves,  acquaintances, friends, family, and significant others. I feel as though the relationship we have with ourselves is something that is constantly changing since we ourselves are changing, for better or for worse. The people who we maintain relationships with are the ones who impact whether or not we grow or decline as an individual. I think it’s important to take a step back and reflect on the relationships we have with others and why we still do. I think about that a lot with my friends because with the ones I’ve been friends with for a while, I wonder if I’m still friends with them just because of our past or if I still genuinely like them. And with the new friends I’ve made in college, I wonder if our friendship will last when we no longer see each other in person as often. However, I am aware of who is a part of my support group, which is something we touched on during the positive relationships topic. They’re the ones I trust and can feel like I can be myself with and we genuinely care about each other. Like we stated in class, they’re the people who will be there for the good, the bad, and everything else in between. which I believe is something important for everyone to have. Without a support group, it can be detrimental for an individual since there is no one they can lean on and are most likely to fall into risky behaviors.

I chose the following image since in order to “conquer” one’s self, you must know yourself and for the reasons I explained above about how the topics covered were about ourselves.

Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/540150549049834219/

Blog post 2

Blog post 2

  1. Topics covered in weeks 6-10 relate to each other because social-emotional learning, emotional resilience, mindfulness, and positive relationships all deal with aspects of our lives that are life skills that aren’t necessarily taught in school but are important in having a non stressful life. Dealing with our emotions is very important because they influence everything we do, by how we feel.
  2. Through everything i’ve learned in this class it’s reinforced the notion that we should work to accept everyone, even ourselves and our mistakes or people who have wronged us, and move forward with things we can change for the better and try to accept and move on from things we cannot.
  3. I’ve tried yoga classes at the gym for the first time, this semester. It was amazing! I go almost every day now. I really enjoy our morning meditation sessions, and try to be more mindful with everything I do.  I try to practice meditation daily as well.
  4. I try to be more like the lotus: water repellent even as I float in a pool of water. I try to let the stress of the world roll right off my back, as I know I have the tools to get through it in a cohesive, respectful manner and keep my composure.  That is liberation.
  5.  
My Biggest Addiction

My Biggest Addiction

 

Image result for cell phone clip art

I am addicted to my phone. No, I’m not implying the advancement of technology is inherently bad. I view technology as an ideal tool to connect to enriching, thought-provoking, and uplifting material. However, I want to discus the darker side of technology I have personally experienced. One of my biggest struggles I faced in high school was with social media apps, specifically Instagram, I had created a following of over 10,000 on the platform with my art work during my junior year. I would spend hours upon hours refreshing pages and consuming whatever the algorithm brought to my attention. I eventually had a breaking point from the pressure of the instilled notion that I had to cater to an audience, I was no longer illustrating for myself, rather focused on the idea of staying relevant which caused me anxiety. Oddly enough, after deleting the app that consumed my time entirely I found myself happier that ever. It wasn’t that the content I was viewing and creating was bad. I will always see value and see investment in watching TED talks, documentaries, or reading reliable articles, but reading and watching hours of content was detrimental to my productivity. Cutting out social media has given me freedom to pursue things. This year I decided to pick up reading and exercising, I’ve also have been given positions on campus such as Diversity Ambassador and New Student Orientation Leader. Not having the hindrance of social media as much has given me the opportunity to build upon my own potential character and overall good for myself. Although I am still working and occasionally struggling with balancing social media and using it as a tool and not a distraction, I am proud of my progress. I’ve been using an app to help me along the way called Off-Time, it allows to black list certain apps, I can choose times during the day where I am allowed to use those applications, otherwise I am blocked from logging on. I’ve also implemented “time-boxing”, when I had a following on Instagram I would spend hours replying to art related questions and messages. This would negatively affect my sleep schedule and productivity. Now that I am doing more activities outside of social media, I’ve started boxing out certain times in the day to be doing specific things to better stay on track and off my phone from distractions. Overall, I am getting better with handling my addiction and improving my health as well. In a reading for the class we were show a correlation from the regression analyses that displaying depression and anxiety were associated to sleep quality. (Demirci et al., 2015). I’m learning social skills and practicing public speaking that have otherwise been stalled from lack of real-life interaction prior. I now feel more optimistic for the future and hope to continue limiting my use of my phone.

Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2

Through out these last weeks we have learned a lot more things about happiness and what we can do to be happier. One of the things we did to implement happiness was putting our phones away during class and then looking back on it and describe how we felt during those 50 minutes. This exercise made me realize how often I was on my phone during the day and I decided to download an app onto my phone to see how many hours I spend on my phone to start cutting back the time, and starting to use it in a more productive way.

Another exercise that we did in class was the mindfulness day where we spent class time doing different mindfulness techniques which included: coloring, a breathing exercise,  a movement exercise, and mindful eating. I really enjoyed this class because it showed me different ways to be mindful other than just sitting and listening.

Something that was incorporated into these 5 weeks from the other weeks was the PERMA model. We had talked about relationships and the R in PERMA stands for that. We discussed the way a relationship with someone can help you flourish or do the opposite. I learned that the reason we form relationships is because we try to avoid loneliness, and feel a connection to people. We also did an exercise that required us to ask 3-5 people what they value, appreciate, and like about us.

All of these topics that we have discussed have made me reflect on my life and actually include them into my daily/weekly life.

photo:https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjp9s2zuareAhWCTd8KHf5DA4UQjRx6BAgBEAU&url=%2Furl%3Fsa%3Di%26source%3Dimages%26cd%3D%26ved%3D2ahUKEwjp9s2zuareAhWCTd8KHf5DA4UQjRx6BAgBEAU%26url%3D%252Furl%253Fsa%253Di%2526source%253Dimages%2526cd%253D%2526cad%253Drja%2526uact%253D8%2526ved%253D2ahUKEwjp9s2zuareAhWCTd8KHf5DA4UQjRx6BAgBEAU%2526url%253Dhttps%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.flickr.com%25252Fphotos%25252Fforbesoste%25252F15655214702%2526psig%253DAOvVaw2qudkoeEbC_8BuD2hHXm1F%2526ust%253D1540861118825720%26psig%3DAOvVaw2qudkoeEbC_8BuD2hHXm1F%26ust%3D1540861118825720&psig=AOvVaw2qudkoeEbC_8BuD2hHXm1F&ust=1540861118825720

 

Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2


Mindfulness can improve human functioning, cognition, and emotional control.  After reading about mindfulness and incorporating daily practices into my life, I have witnessed the benefits of becoming apart of the present moment.  For me, focusing on one task has always been difficult. Sitting down to study, for example, is hard because my mind easily wanders. By taking a few moments to be mindful before I have to study or go to work, has been helped me improve attention efficiency and has been a great anxiety reliever.  Since then, mindfulness has become apart of my daily routine. Mindfulness has also been shown to reduce reactivity to emotional stimuli. This is why I think mindfulness training programs would be great in schools, where social-emotional learning is lacking. Social-emotional learning leads to success in school and has the power to change one’s attitude towards themselves and others.  The image I used is a chart showing skills which are developed through social and emotional learning. I think this would be so beneficial for students who struggle with controlling their emotions and expressing themselves to others. Many students with antisocial or aggressive behavior have a less than perfect home life and could gain a lot from an emotionally balanced school life. I wasn’t surprised to read that anxiety, depression, and daytime dysfunctions were higher in the smartphone group in the study on physical and psychological health linked to technology use.  It was hard for me to admit that I too am addicted to my smartphone. I don’t necessarily need it, but still find myself reaching for it when I could be doing something more productive. I begun to put my phone across the room when I go to bed, and found that I get much better sleep without its distraction. I have also began to put my phone away when I out with friends or walk to class. It has helped me be more mindful and fully immerse myself into the present moment. The lectures and readings on meaningful relationships was helpful when evaluating my own relationships.  I found myself questioning, “Does this relationship contribute to my own personal growth? Does it promote or hinder thriving? Does this relationship nurture a desire to create or seize life opportunities?” After asking myself those questions, it was easy for me to distinguish which relationships were toxic. I am really glad to have close, supportive relationships that keep me in a motivational state. When thinking about my life, I can identify that my state of well-being was much better, both psychologically and physically when I had trusted relationships. Learning more about substance use disorders was personally interesting, because I have people in my life who struggle with substance use.  The combination of predisposing factors, adolescent development, and maintenance all contribute to the developmental process of addiction. Although I am not an impulsive person and do not have addiction issues, I want to learn more about becoming a recovery ally for those who are suffering.

 

Photo Credit: Google Images

Blog Post #2

Blog Post #2

It is hard to believe that we are halfway through the semester! Over the last few weeks, we have been introduced to topics such as: positive relationships, personality traits, usage of substances, impulsiveness, disconnection from electronics, and decision making. It is important to mention how all these topics correlate with each other. For instance, these concepts relate back to our overall well-being and mental health. In week 9, we learned about the importance of maintaining positive relationships in order to have a well rounded grasp of life in the sense of having enjoyable memories, high self-esteem, and overall being happy. On the other hand, it is important to be aware of negative relationships in order for one to remove themselves from that situation or even prevent that situation from occurring. Negative relationships are extremely detrimental to one’s well-being because one experiences more stress and feels lonely. I think substance abuse can play as a major factor that links people to negative relationships.For instance, an individual who is facing hardships or high levels of stress may make the decision to rely on alcohol or any other substance to help them escape from their problems. There are cases in which an individual is in a relationship with another individual, but both are heavily involved in the usage of substance abuse, and one individual may be threatened if he or she leaves the relationship, the other individual will harm themselves. This is an extreme situation, but it is important to be aware how all these concepts relate to each and how one has to make a decision that will affect the individual’s well-being. The content we learned from the beginning of the semester (week 1-5), introduced us to the basic concepts of mindfulness which has now allowed us to have a better understanding in regards to aspects that pertain to